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paulraphael

Verjus

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Anyone cook with this? Recommended brand and where to find? Preferably something not too exotic?

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I'm sure that someone else will be a better source of information than I am, but I have purchased verjus (and some lovely balsamic vinegar) from Venturi-Schulze winery on Vancouver Island in BC though this hardly helps you as it is a long way from you and even though they do ship to the US, their verjus is currently unavailable. But I did see a NY Times article from 2010 on verjus and they recommended a Long Island vineyard that still produces and sells verjus. Wölffer Estate Vineyard

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/dining/27power.html

 

 

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I've used the Wolffer Estate verjus and it's delicious!  It's easy to order from them on the Internet.

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On 3/3/2018 at 12:40 PM, paulraphael said:

Anyone cook with this? Recommended brand and where to find? Preferably something not too exotic?

My summer house neighbor has a grape arbor that produces prolifically, but she never sees a ripe grape because the raccoons take everything.  At my suggestion, since 2016 she's been harvesting early and pressing verjus.  It's fabulous fresh, and very, very good canned.  A salad dressing using it can be relevatory.

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If you come to Australia, there is a local cook in SA called Maggie Beer who never stops shilling the damned stuff.  According to her, every single recipe in existence needs verjus.

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1 hour ago, Cronker said:

If you come to Australia, there is a local cook in SA called Maggie Beer who never stops shilling the damned stuff.  According to her, every single recipe in existence needs verjus.

 

That is exactly where I first heard of verjus - from Maggie Beer in SA.  I have yet to try a recipe with verjus. 

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It’s just unfermented grape juice, really, and it’s like a vinegar style.

 I really get hot under the collar when ‘celebrity’ chefs just bang on about one particular ingredient, especially when they sell it.  Balsamic does pretty much the same thing as verjus, and far cheaper.  Maggie Beer comes across as the best grandma you could ever wish for in your kitchen, but truth is, she is a hard nosed **** to work for.

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3 hours ago, Cronker said:

Balsamic does pretty much the same thing as verjus, and far cheaper.

 

Umm, except for the pH, being cooked, the lack of freshness and tannin, concentrated sugars, reductive reactions, fermentation  with yeast, acetic oxidation, lignin flavor exchange, concentration of volatiles by transpiration, thickness, color, flow and a couple hundred flavor molecules, yes, balsamic is quite like verjus.

 

You're not buying very good balsamic if you think verjus is dear.

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and yet, you’re the one buying verjus in a can...

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Madeleine Kamman gives a recipe in "When French Women Cook". Proportions are 1 cup juice from sour juicy green grapes, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 cups alcohol (90 proof clear, or grappa or pisco), and 1/2 cup wine vinegar. Age at least 2 months before use. Store in cool dry place.

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

Madeleine Kamman gives a recipe in "When French Women Cook". Proportions are 1 cup juice from sour juicy green grapes, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 cups alcohol (90 proof clear, or grappa or pisco), and 1/2 cup wine vinegar. Age at least 2 months before use. Store in cool dry place.

Where does one buy sour grapes? (Do I need to duck when the answers come in?)

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

Where does one buy sour grapes? (Do I need to duck when the answers come in?)

 

You have no friends with vineyards? Other than the vines in your garden or friends or asking at your farmers market it is probably not worth it. I've been lucky to often have access but preferred to let them ripen and make another deluicious product -  saba  

 


Edited by heidih (log)
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2 hours ago, heidih said:

Madeleine Kamman gives a recipe in "When French Women Cook". Proportions are 1 cup juice from sour juicy green grapes, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 cups alcohol (90 proof clear, or grappa or pisco), and 1/2 cup wine vinegar. Age at least 2 months before use. Store in cool dry place.

 

This sounds like a shrub cocktail recipe to me!

 

Larousse doesn't say anything about fortification or sugar.  All it says is:

 

"VERJUS  The acid juice extracted from large unripened grapes or crab-apples, which was formerly widely used as a sauce ingredient, a condiment and in deglazing until eventually superseded by the instruction to add a dash of lemon juice in recipes.  In the Middle Ages, verjus (literally 'green juice') was an acid-tasting stock prepared with the juice of unripe grapes, sometimes mixed with lemon or sorrel juice, herbs and spices.  It was used in most sauces and liasons.

 

In the latter years of the 20th Century the use of verjus experienced a revival.  It is in general use in Middle Eastern cookery."

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I have no idea but I trust Ms. Kamman on French food. No horse in the race; just reported what I thought of interest. Perhaps the sugar/booze were the preserving technique as she says this lasted her distant relative Victoire  in the Auvergne until the next harvest; where Madeleine stayed in the summer of '39.  A woman she describes as she stepped off the train at Langeac "I was swept off my feet by a little, old Arab-looking woman, with a hooked nose, two piercing, flaming eyes..."

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2018 at 2:32 PM, Cronker said:

It’s just unfermented grape juice, really, and it’s like a vinegar style.

 I really get hot under the collar when ‘celebrity’ chefs just bang on about one particular ingredient, especially when they sell it.  Balsamic does pretty much the same thing as verjus, and far cheaper.  Maggie Beer comes across as the best grandma you could ever wish for in your kitchen, but truth is, she is a hard nosed **** to work for.

 

Well, I want to experiment with it at the urging of a chef I know personally and respect completely, who is not shilling anything. 

 

Acids are all different. Saying that "Balsamic does pretty much the same thing as verjus, and is far cheaper" is a head scratcher. Where I live, real balsamic vinegar costs around $30 an ounce; fake supermarket balsamic is useful for basically nothing; and neither tastes anything like unaged, unfermented acidic juice. I would consider them to be at opposite ends of the flavor spectrum when looking for an acid. 

 

FWIW, my current go-to acids (in order of brightness to roundness) are pure citric acid, lemon juice, fino sherry vinegar or grenache vinegar, palomino sherry vinegar, moscatel or pedro ximenez sherry vinegar, and reduced wine. I probably use more px sherry vinegar than everything else put together, at least these days. I want to play with verjuice for the brighter end of the spectrum, for things where I currently use lemon juice or the lighter vinegars.

 

Edited to add: the main acids in unripe grapes are tartaric and malic, which should lead us to expect a quite different character from the usual citric and acetic acid-based potions.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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23 hours ago, Cronker said:

and yet, you’re the one buying verjus in a can...

If you're referring to me, I don't buy it, and it's not in a can.

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