A few weeks ago September felt like summer still, and I noticed a grape vine growing through our fence from the church’s car park next door. Who planted that? A mystery.

The clusters of grapes were beautiful but sour, and I knew there wouldn’t be enough hot sunshine left to ripen them to purple sweet. First thought of course was verjuice, but my kitchen counter is cluttered with various fruity and sour home concoctions. I remembered making a version of umeboshi with less-ripe plums (something I’ll write about soon) — and of course considered fermenting these unripened grapes in a similar way.


Somehow searching around the internet I lucked upon the blogs of Persepholis, a Persian foods shop in London, and learned about sour grapes as a beloved ingredient in Persian/ Iranian cuisine.

So I salted the fruit, and saved the juice that was excreted, and imagine it as a too-salty version of the salted (to preserve) verjuice that I read about on an Iranian cookery website.  What has resulted, pictured below, feel like salty currants, or raisins, and mostly like capers.  A great reminder that piquancy and sour and salty wake up food as secret flavours around world cuisine.  I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use them– and considered powdering the lot to sprinkle as a spice– but feel too busy.  I’m thinking maybe with fish, if I ever did cook fish, or to enliven something Middle Eastern in feel that just needed a little lift.