Last year around this time, my mom and I set up a Fig & Quince table (of goodies and books) at the Children of Persia 9th Annual Walk. (All ‘ye Metro DC area folks who like a good cause & delicious Persian food: Mark your calendars for their 10th Annual Walk.)
For our goodies we offered: Persian mixed trail (ajeel); Persian honey almond saffron brittles (sohan ‘e assal); and 3 types of Persian pickles (torshi.): 1) mixed veggies pickles (torshi makhloot); 2) eggplant pickles (torshi ‘ye bademjoon); and 3) grape pickles (torshi’ ye angur.) The pickles were the first to go, and fast! Everyone loves a good torshi.
The eggplant and mixed-veggies pickles were my mom’s tried and true (and stellar, I might add) recipes – but making torshi ‘ye angur (grape pickles) was a novel one for us both. Its recipe one I’d found while scouring Najaf Daryabandari’s Persian cookbook (a masterpiece) for information and inspiration. (I actually had the honor and pleasure of meeting the gentleman on a few occasions during my trip to Iran. Full story: soon!)
I was excited about pickling grapes and my mom was game as well but she was rather skeptical about whether it would taste good. Turned out, the result was just wonderful. Sweet, sour, a little bit salty, and crunchy. In a unique, pleasantly palatable way.
Want some good news? Aside from its favorable taste and texture, grape torshi is ridiculously easy to prepare. Requiring not so much a recipe as know-how. So simple in fact that I won’t even bother with the usual recipe format and will just do a step by step pictorial.
By way of ingredients all you will need are: white vinegar, salt, sterlized airtight glass jars, and a good batch of nice, dent-free, firm, crunchy (no smooshy ones, oh no no no) red or black grapes. We used black grapes, as you can see.
Gently wash & dry grapes. Taking care that none of the grapes separate from the stalk.
Allow grapes to dry completely. (Leave to drain in a colander, or, lay on cloth.)
With a kitchen scissor, cut the grape bunch into separate stalks, each stalk having at least 3-4 grapes on it.
Fill pickling jars with a few grape stalks. (Don’t stuff the jar – leave wiggling room for the grapes.)
Add vinegar (enough to cover grapes, leaving some room at the top.) Sprinkle with a dash of salt. Close lid.That’s it. Your job is done.
Now, according to the original recipe, it’ll take a month before this pickle has ‘settled’ and is ready to serve, but we tried it only one day afterwards, and honestly, it was good to go!
Definitely try this. It’s an interesting way to enjoy grapes and with its melange of sweet, sour and salty taste, it makes a unique condiment that goes quite nicely with meat or a rich dish.