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The fact that one has never pickled, canned or bottled anything should not make one think twice about pickling a grape.  There is practically nothing to it.  If you have a couple of jars with lids, a few minutes–and the grapes–a child who knows her way around a hot stove can do it.

A small bowl of pickled grapes and another of cornichons are a well-matched pair with an aperitif.  The grapes are sweet with a shade of sour and the cornichons–the reverse.  Aperitifs are anticipatory and whatever goes with them should be too.  Otherwise,  the good things that follow lose their edge.  Pickled grapes will put an edge on an appetite without dampening it.

Pickled Black and Red Grapes (2 pint-sized jars)


  • 1 pound of seedless red or black grapes, or a combination of both
  • 1 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt


  • 2 pint-sized jars with lids

1.  Pull the grapes from their stems and cut off the rounded end of each grape where it was attached to the vine so that the flesh absorbs the pickling flavours:

2.  Divide the grapes between the jars.

3.  In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns and cinnamon sticks.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Chill the pickling brine in the refrigerator until it is cool.  Put one of the cinnamon sticks in each jar and fill both jars with the brine:

4.  Lid the jars and store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days before using them:

Both red and black grapes pickle well and will last many months stored in the refrigerator….

and the black ones will soon resemble olives: 

Because the grapes are there….

is reason sufficient for pickling them.

A Note:  Pickled Black and Red Grapes are served with Aperitifs in the Lunch Menu: Simply Delicious Combinations.  The recipe is an adaptation of one by Susan Kaplan, the original owner of The Boat Street Cafe in Seattle.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012