Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making verjus (or verjuice)

The starlings have arrived for the grapes, so it looks like my chances of getting any ripe ones are about zero. Last year I made verjus, so this year I'm doing the same. The grapes may be a little too big, but they are still unripe and acidic. Here's how I make verjus:

First I chop off the bunches of grapes and give them a wash to get rid of any bird droppings.

Then I crush the grapes with a pestle.

Next, I pile the crushed grapes in a clean pillowcase.

Finally I hang the pillowcase up with a jar underneath it to catch the juice. When the jar's full I usually fill ice cube trays with the juice and freeze it, but I keep some fresh to use now.

Verjus (or verjuice if you prefer) is great for marinating chicken or meat, and for poaching fish and gives it a great taste and makes it incredibly tender. It's also great in salad dressings, and virtually anywhere else you would use lemons.

Making verjus means at least I get some use from the grapes and the birds don't get them all.

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