Grape Molasses (Debess Ennab)

November 14, 2010  • 

 

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!

METHOD:

  • 10 pounds of fresh and sweet grapes (this is an approximate weight)
  • 2 eggs (boil, wash and collect the eggshells)

METHOD:

  1. Wash the grapes as well as possible; place in batches in a food processor bowl, removing the stems.
  2. Process for a couple of minutes. Pour into a sieve set over a large pot.
  3. Press with a mallet to extract as much liquid as possible. You should have 2 liters (8 cups of liquid).
  4. 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.
  5. When the liquid has the consistency of a syrup (it sticks to a spoon) and is a deep garnet color, it is ready.
  6. Pour into a jar and let it cool.

NOTE:

Skim the surface every time froth appears.

Expect to get a scant cup of molasses for 8 cups of grape juice.

To read more on grape molasses, click here and here, as well as here.

For a selection of recipes using  grape molasses:

Granola recipe

Lebanese couscous

Oatmeal molasses cookies

Bulgur with grape molasses

Rice pudding with grape molasses


Comments

49 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. TS of eatingclub says:

    Oh, interesting. What is the purpose of the eggshells?

  2. Hannah says:

    Amazing!! I think I’ve mentioned before that the only kind of molasses I’ve seen here in Australia is blackstrap molasses (oh, and pomegranate), but I never would have considered trying to make my own other kind of molasses! I’m absolutely in awe of you – this looks so delicious 🙂

  3. Lyndsey says:

    I am so glad to read this. I bought some pomegranate molasses and saw the grape molasses, but I had no idea what to do with it. I always have to check out the Middle Eastern Market(it’s very tiny) when I read your blog to see if I can find what you use.

  4. Ivy says:

    I always bring along some from Cyprus. It is called epsima and in Greek Petimezi. I love it and use it in lots of recipes. I also brough carob molasses and have a post I was working on and left it unfinished which I will post soon. I don’t think they add the egg shells when they make it in Cyprus and Greece.

    • Joumana says:

      Ivy, in Lebanon they add chalk during the first boiling.

      Ruba: I would stir it from time to time, but let it simmer gently on the stove for hours.

      TS: I believe the eggshells are a coagulant agent as well as a disinfectant, but don’t quote me yet! 🙂

      Pixen: Any grapes are good! Green or red, and the sweeter the better!

      Eve: you can half the recipe! It does not really matter how much grapes because it is going to get reduced a lot.

  5. SYLVIA says:

    This is my ultimate comfort food, a childhood favorite. Every year my grandparents would crush the grapes and make grape molasses while we were growing up. We call this in Armenian (puhr- poor) meaning foam. We would anxiously await each summer for puhr-poor night, where we gather with close friends and relatives in anticipation for the grape juice to become thick molasses, and start foaming on top. My uncle would reach into a barrel using a hollow gourd as a ladle, and begin to ribbon the molasses through the air, like a little bit of fireworks and drama. Everyone would taste the sweet foam when the syrup bubbled up like a volcanic eruption. When I close my eyes, this recipe transports me back to my youth. Joumana thank you for recreating this love in a jar.

  6. Rosa says:

    A wonderful produce!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. Priya says:

    Interesting molasses, never tried making molasses at home, thanks for sharing with us..

  8. Ruba says:

    I have been following your lovely blog for a while and was meaning to thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
    Would love to try this one out, a bit hesitant because of the preparation time (does require constant stirring on the stove or just close supervision, as some recipes I have seen only say it needs one hour?

  9. Lea Ann says:

    I love your blog, I learn so much about foods I’ve never heard of. I’ll have to look closer at the molasses section next time I’m at the store.

  10. peter says:

    Fantastic recipe, Joumana, Many people can’t find the grape molasses, so they can make your version! I’ve seen Greek versions (Petimezi) where ashes are also used to make it. Curious to try both versions and see if there are any differences. Hmmm…..

  11. Barbara says:

    Delicious, Joumana. My grandpa used to put eggshells in his coffee. It was supposed to remove any bitterness. And it also helped the grounds settle.

  12. Esef aka pixen says:

    woohooo… this is great..now I can make grape mollasse when I’m back home in Southeast Asia! Oh may I know which type of grapes to use?

    Egg Shells, Chalk… both share same made up of Calcium Carbonate. It’s really like coagulant for Tofu as well (nigari (natural magnesium chloride), natural calcium sulfate or gypsum).

    @ Barbara… interesting solution for non-coffee lovers I known. They said it’s bitter 😀

  13. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    I LOVE these recipes where you make your basic condiment or such. But the thought of 10 pounds of grapes! lol. That is a lot of grapes. Really interesting about the egg shell use. Et merci pour la réponse de l’autre billet!

  14. T.W. Barritt says:

    Wow! My first thought was “I wonder where to buy this.” But you MADE it yourself! Even better!

  15. FOODESSA says:

    Although I really don’t think I’ll be making homemade grape molasses soon…I did (thanks to you) get a jar of this great stuff from the last time I had read about it here.
    I’m so glad you listed some recipes…because I just went to grab your oatmeal cookie recipe…will try these for sure ;o)

    Ciao for now and have a great day,
    Claudia

  16. Doc says:

    Love the squash-so good for a winter treat. Thanks for the molassas info. It looks delicious and making some homemade is the way to go.
    Awesome-Thanks!
    Doc

  17. HPD says:

    Very cool!

  18. Damaris @Kitchen Cor says:

    O.K now tell me where I can but it. I’ve never hard of grape mollasses and even though your recipe looks great and adventurous you’re super woman and I am not, my babies would hate me if I had to simmer something for 6 hours. Question, do you think it would work in a slow cooker?

    • Joumana says:

      Damaris: it does not work in a slow cooker. If you want to buy it, Amazon offers it online. All middle-eastern (Greek, Turkish, Armenian) stores should carry it.

      Katerina: in Lebanon it is made with chalk (I guess similar to ashes in what it does); I asked my friend, Um Elias, who brought us a jar made with grapes from our orchard what she used and her answer was ” I took it to the village’s grape press!”

      Mag: the molasses is going to be a “lite” version of the original; however the taste beats anything you will buy at the store.

  19. Radhika @ foodfor7stages says:

    I was wondering why egg would be used in Molasses, but I am absolutely stunned by this technique. can’t wait to make this.

  20. Katerina says:

    In Greece we make petimezi with the extract of grapes which is boiled with ashes. I have never heard of using egg shells(at least not here), it is very interesting. I am curious if it tastes as the Greek one. I have never made petimezi but I know that it is a very time consuming procedure and tiring. Also only 1/3 of the amount of grape extract becomes petimezi.

  21. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Absolutely fascinating historical notes and recipe. I think I’ll skip making my own, because I lack motivation at the moment. 😉 But I’ll definitely pick some up next time I see them.

  22. vegetarianirvana says:

    I hadn’t heard of grape molasses until a while ago in your post. It was on my buy list. Now after your post of how to make it, I have to try making it. And to think I was doing just fine before I knew about it’s existance! Hmmm

  23. Faith says:

    What a great post! I absolutely love making things like this at home, I’m definitely going to try this out!

  24. Adelina says:

    Wow! Pretty impressive. I finally bought some grape molasses so I can use in my cooking. Can’t believe you made your version. Pretty cool.

  25. Joanne says:

    Whoa. I bet this would make for some excellent grape molasses-infused gingerbread.

  26. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Glad you liked the bars; regarding your query on flax: Yes, flax seeds are great for you, especially when ground, because your body can actually digest them. They have lots of healthy fats that are fantastic for the skin and heart. And they can double as a binder (egg substitute) in recipes.

  27. theUngourmet says:

    I’ve never heard of grape molasses. It’s so beautiful! I would love to try it!

  28. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    Oh mais tu es courageuse ! ;o)
    Bisous
    Hélène

  29. TastyTrix says:

    I cannot keep up with you, you are such a prolific poster! So I have finally used pomegranate molasses – in a marinade and in a salad dressing, and I absolutely loved it. It gives such a “mmm, what is that?” flavor. And now you have me on to grape. So be it!

    And thank you for stopping by the Urbanite, that was sweet of you!

  30. Mary says:

    I’ve never had grape molasses, but you have made me curious to give it a try. It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  31. MAG says:

    Hi Joumana 🙂
    Oh I thought it was much more difficult than that :)) would love to try it myself instead of buying it 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  32. Nadia says:

    I would love to make this one day and try it in savory sauces and desserts.
    Maybe I’ll try the readymade one first to get a better idea for flavor/consistency.

  33. Rachana says:

    I’ve never had grape molasses… this looks and sounds very interesting.

  34. Jeannie says:

    I love the look of your grapes molasses, looks so delicious and appealing to the eyes.

  35. OysterCulture says:

    I love grape molasses but never thought to make it for myself, I cannot wait to try this. What a special treat and what a wonderful gift for people to explore a wonderful new food product.

  36. twinkle says:

    thanks so much! I have so many grape vines,but not good for wine. Now i know what i can do with them! A ton of grapes is alot of jelly. . Thanks again! Blessings, twinkle.

  37. Arlette says:

    Marhaba Joumana,
    seems i missed this posting for some reason….
    I got a good recipe for the Malban Aoukoudeh, and it requires grape molasses which
    is hard to find in North Bay. Thanks for the posting… my question to you what is the difference in using ashes or eggshell, only to create the foam??? does it makes any difference in taste…. I know in Baalback they used ashes in many recipes and for making the raisin also.

    • Joumana says:

      @Arlette: I don’t have the answer yet but I am planning to investigate/All I know is that it is hard to reproduce the same molasses at home due to various factors, type of grape, method used, etc.

  38. Elena says:

    Joumana, what do you think- may be, it’s possible to prepare such syrup by sun-evaporating method? I hate to stand near stove and tediously mix something. I would prefer method “to put and forget about it for a few hours”.

    • Joumana says:

      @Elena: I have never heard of such a method, so I would be excited to know the result if you try it. My friend Mylady (a robust, and very healthy 84-year old) makes hers in her kitchen and this Fall, I will make it with her; she first uses some clay to purify the syrup then she strains it then boils it down; it tastes magnificent, like caramel; but the key is the variety of grapes; the grapes in Lebanon are called merwah and I will find out what is the equivalent overseas.

  39. phil barkley says:

    I was reading in a study bible Ruth and it mentioned wine molasses I had only heard of cane / blackstrap thank you for your fascinating web site I will come again and try you recipes. Phil

    • Joumana says:

      @Phil: Thank you for the praise, hope you enjoy the site, got almost 1000 recipes in here. 🙂

  40. Nancy says:

    How would you store this? Will it keep a year in the refrigerator? Can it be processed in glass canning jars? (now allergic to cane sugar and looking for alternatives)

    • Joumana says:

      @Nancy: Grape molasses (as all other molasses) keeps for up to 2 years; however, I would be reluctant to tell you how to make it as I don’t know exaxctly how I would make it in the US and what type of grapes to use as well as what type of clay or limestone to use; the techniques that would work in Lebanon would not necessarily work elsewhere. I’d suggest using locally made molasses; there is a farm in New York State that makes some apple cider molasses (their name is on my blog roll); also, you can easily find date, grape and carob molasses at ethnic mediterranean stores.

  41. khaled says:

    Hello
    nice
    I wonder if you have the procedure for the sour grape molasses
    thanks

    • Joumana says:

      @khaled: you mean for vinegar? or the sweet debs el-ennab? one uses sour grapes to make verjuice and the other makes a sweet and thick molasses.

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