Along the Grapevine

Verjus – made from unripe blueberries.

15 Comments

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Basket of unripe blueberries

Since I learned about verjus, or verjuice, I have been looking forward to making it with wild grapes instead of the usual wine grapes. With the acres of grapevines around our place, I thought I would have lots to work with, but this year the grapes are just not co-operating at all, so that is one recipe which will have to be put on hold.

Verjus is made from unripe grapes, usually those which are removed from the vines when growers want to boost their crop. The grapes are put through a food mill, creating a green mush which is used like vinegar. It is used in Middle Eastern cuisine, and has been adopted by the French, who have given it its international name. Recently it has made its way into international markets, and if you are lucky you might find some in specialty gourmet shops. I myself have never seen it, or tried it, but if you are curious, you can read more about it and how to make it here.

It seems to be used primarily in salad dressings, replacing the vinegar or lemon with a less acidic flavour which will not interfere with the taste of your wine when eating salad. Makes sense to me.

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Blueberry Fields in Tweed, Ontario

So when I was out picking blueberries the other day at Wilson’s Organic Blueberries in Tweed and found it was easier to pick the unripe berries than the few ripe ones, I decided they resembled grapes enough that I could make my own version with these. They are a little too hard to put through a food mill, so I cooked them gently in water first until they softened. Some of them already had some pink or dark blue in them, so my version is far from green, but the taste was exactly what I had hoped for – fruity and slightly sour, but less acidic than a vinegar or citrus juice.

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Cleaned berries ready for poaching

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Pink Verjus

To make the salad dressing, I mixed one part to two parts olive oil and seasoned it with salt. Such a simple salad dressing. I kept my salad in the same colour theme, using only green and reds: green zebra tomatoes, French green beans, arugula, sorrel, lettuce and amaranth – all from my garden. But needless to say, it can be used on any salad calling for a vinaigrette. Next time, I will also vary the dressing with other flavourings, but here I just wanted to taste the verjus. And the wine did taste better!

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Salad with verjus dressing

 

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

15 thoughts on “Verjus – made from unripe blueberries.

  1. Looks absolutely delicious

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  2. Things that make you go “hmmmm…”
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this before; it’s really cool! What a fascinating recipe!

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  4. very interesting! years ago, part of my job in the summer was to assess blueberry biomass, which included picking sampling plots clean of both ripe and unripe berries, sorting the green from the blue, then counting and weighing them… tedious work at best… the one saving grace was having all those blueberries to eat… unfortunately we always threw the green ones out, which seemed so wasteful…. I am going to send this link to the people who are doing this work now! cheers.

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    • Thanks for the comment and passing on this post. I have found there are several fruits which can be used before they are ripe – crabapples are a good case in point, so I thought it interesting to try something with the blueberries. The season has been cut short around here because of lack of sun, and there are so many green berries going to waste. I was glad to be able to use some.

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  5. Very interesting and attractive for a person from India because we do get blueberries here. Only canned is available🙂 recipe is very interesting for me🙂

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  6. HILDA just love the way you bring fresh fruits, veggies from the garden to your kitchen. …just love it….

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  7. Verjuice is used in Persian cuisine a lot. It never crossed my mind about verjuice from other fruits and what a splendid idea. Blueberries? Wow!

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  8. Do you live near Tweed? I’m from Belleville originally and have friends and family there still. Small world…Oh, and the post is awesome as usual. I had never heard of verjus until now. Thank you for enlightening me. My daughter is attempting to make vinegar out of apple cores and peels now. She came pretty close the first time. The second attempt she has going looks a bit iffy. Maybe we should try verjus instead.

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    • What a small world indeed. We live just north of Napanee so go to Belleville often. I am from Toronto, but have spent most of my life overseas. When we retired, we just settled here because we liked the property and the area.
      Interesting to make vinegar from apples. I read also the verjus is sometimes made from unripe crabapples, so I presume apples would work just as well. It sounds interesting because they would have a nice sour taste from the start.

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      • It is a nice area. I’m looking at a house in Belleville this week when I’m home to take my daughter back to university. I don’t think I’m ready to move back quite yet, but it’s fun to look (and it’s a super cute house). The apple vinegar doesn’t seem to be developing (it’s a long process). I might have better luck with your method (blueberries or crab apples).

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  9. Pingback: Victoire’s Verjus | My Kitchen Witch

  10. Pingback: Fermented Unripe Blueberries | Along the Grapevine

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  12. Pingback: A Recipe dedicated to Selma | Along the Grapevine

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