Sour Grapes.

Seriously Sour Grapes.

As ‘these can not possibly pass for table grapes’ sour.

Frans Snyders Grapes, Peaches and Quinces in a Niche 17th century

Frans Snyders Grapes, Peaches and Quinces in a Niche 17th century

What to do with grapes too  sour to eat????

Cook  them!


Italian Sausage with Grapes – right on the cover. Issue  #135 August 2015

Cook the grapes with sausages. I’d actually made this recipe before….December? January? It was before the Big Snows of last winter.

I’ve been a sometimes tester of recipes for  Cook’s Illustrated  for the last few years…..I don’t remember how I got on the notice list, but every now and again I get an e-mail as a Friend of CI and then I have an assignment, should I so choose.

It’s a little exercise that make me read the recipe and

do exactly what it says to do.

And then fill out the questionnaire.

Hmmm – follow directions and THEN have opinions. Not my natural order of business….

I don’t test every recipe. Just the ones I think I’ll like, which is actually one of the ground rules. Don’t make things you don’t eat. Actually, a pretty good rule in general.

Soooo  – here’s my totally casual, breezey easy take of the recipe. If you want to fiddle with 1/4 teaspoon of some seasoning or another, go to Cook’s Illustrated.


oil for the bottom of the pan

1 package hot Italian sausage

1 large onion

seedless red grapes (1# or 3 cups or whatever uses them all up)

salt and pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine (since I had no wine in the house, I used an old 17th century trick of using 1/2 white wine vinegar + 1/2 water and a little sugar = wine (ish)): OR  2 Tablespoon water and 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon sugar

a little oregano

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

perhaps another teaspoon or 2 of sugar

(a little chopped fresh mint)

12″ pan with a lid

  1. Cut the onion in half and slice thin.  Onion-Step-4-Version-4
  2. Cut the grapes in half lengthwise
  3. Heat a skim of oil in a 12 inch pan over medium heat. Sausages go in to brown, 2 stripes only, 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the sliced onions and all the halved grapes and 1/4 cup water to the pan with the sausages. PUT A LID ON IT.
  5. Let cook about 10 minutes at medium. Sausages should be 160° – 165° and grapes should have softened.
  6. Transfer the sausage out to a paper-towel lined plate – tent with foil  to keep warm.
  7. Turn the heat under the pan up to med-high. sat and pepper and spread the grape/onion mixture around the pan and cook without stirring until browned, 3-5 minutes.
  8. Start stirring about and continue cooking until the mixture browns and the grapes are definitely soft.
  9. Reduce heat to medium, add the water/wine vinegar mixture (or the wine, if you have it). Sprinkle in some oregano.Scrape any lingering goodness from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to meld into the sauce.
  10. Taste. Adjust. I had to add a little more sugar because the grapes were THAT sour.
  11. Take off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar.
  12. Put the sausages on a serving platter, top with the sauce. Optional: sprinkle with chopped mint.
  13. Good over polenta (Great over polenta!) or over pasta. I intend to eat a leftover sausage with onion/grapes in a roll for lunch this week, and the thought of that seems pretty good, too.
This is the photo from the Cook's Illustrated website of the nearly finished dish.

This is the photo from the Cook’s Illustrated website of the nearly finished dish.

Another grape was a topic of conversation this week, too.

Goofy Grape.

goofy grape

Goofy Grape was part of the Funny Face Gang – a whole family of cyclamate sweetened drink of my childhood. Once the cyclamates were banned, they had plain ole sugar. And some of the more racist flavors were re-worked .

Funny face gang

Goofy Grape. Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry. Jolly Olly Orange. Freckled Face Strawberry. With-it Watermelon.

My brother still has his With-It Watermelon cup.

My brother still has his With-It Watermelon cup.


Filed under Recipe, The 1960"s

2 responses to “Sour Grapes.

  1. This is what I did 2years ago with our sour grapes but going to do it your way this year, so thank you 🙂

  2. Irma Wall

    I have that “with-it watermelon” cup at home……..must be at least 35 yrs. old. IMW

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