Grape molasses is a fascinating food.
It is a sweet-tasting molasses; a natural sweetener made from the fresh grapes harvested in the fall. It was used exclusively in Lebanese villages before the widespread availability of refined white sugar.
Its nutritious benefits are immeasurable. It is very rich in minerals.
Grape molasses has health benefits as well.
Grape molasses can be used to sweeten cookies, cakes and breads; it can be made into a refreshing drink; it can flavor puddings; it can be used in BBQ sauce and gravies; it can be made into a broth to cook beans or grains or in meat stews.
Grape molasses has been used in Lebanon (and adjoining countries), Greece (petimezi), France (raisiné), Italy, Turkey (pekmez) as well as in Asian countries.
I wanted to make some myself!
- 10 pounds of fresh and sweet grapes (this is an approximate weight)
- 2 eggs (boil, wash and collect the eggshells)
- Wash the grapes as well as possible; place in batches in a food processor bowl, removing the stems.
- Process for a couple of minutes. Pour into a sieve set over a large pot.
- Press with a mallet to extract as much liquid as possible. You should have 2 liters (8 cups of liquid).
- Set over the stove over medium heat with a tablespoon or so of crushed eggshells. The liquid will froth, skim it repeatedly, then pour through a sieve again. Set back on the stove and simmer for about 4 and up to 6 hours, stirring with a wooden spoon through the bottom, making sure it does not burn.
- When the liquid has the consistency of a syrup (it sticks to a spoon) and is a deep garnet color, it is ready.
- Pour into a jar and let it cool.
Skim the surface every time froth appears.
Expect to get a scant cup of molasses for 8 cups of grape juice.
For a selection of recipes using grape molasses:
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