Petimezi: Grape Syrup (Grape Molasses)

Greek Food Photos - Petimezi on Yogurt - Grape Molasses Syrup
Petimezi topping on yogurt. Photo © Jim Stanfield
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 3 gallons

In Greek: πετιμέζι, pronounced peh-tee-MEH-zee

This is a specialty on the Greek island of Crete and one of the oldest (most ancient) recipes I know. Try this naturally sweet (no sugar added) syrup on yogurt, ice cream, in tea, on pancakes, in baking, and as a topping for snow!. A teaspoon also works wonders for sore throats and colds. On Crete, it's made in large quantities in September when grapes are harvested and used throughout the year.

What You'll Need

  • 65 pounds of white grapes (pale green on stems, or 3 gallons of green grape grape must) 
  • For Storing: Rose-scented pelargonium leaves (scented geranium, or bay leaves)

How to Make It


  • 65 pounds of grapes will yield about 3 gallons of juice.
  • You'll need a piece of tulle for this recipe.

If starting from scratch

(Work in manageable batches.) In a large tub, squeeze the grapes by hand (or use a grape press if available) to get as much juice as possible. Pour the grapes and juice through a strainer, collecting the juice in a large bowl or pot. Discard the skins, seeds, and any pulp.

Add 4 tablespoons of wood ash to the gallon of juice, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes. It will make a froth. Strain the juice through the tulle into a bowl, and discard any collected seeds and ash.

Prepare the petimezi in batches of 1 or 2 quarts each. Bring the juice to a boil, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Skim off any froth that rises. The resulting syrup should be the consistency of thin maple syrup. It will be a dark reddish-brown color (see photo).

* If starting with Grape Must (recipe)

Boil the must for at least one hour, until it thickens enough to coat a spoon (slow drip).

Store in clean jars with a leaf of rose-scented pelargonium or a bay leaf (for a less sweet taste), away from light. Seal jars after the syrup has cooled completely. Do not refrigerate.

Over time, the syrup may thicken. To thin, place the jar in a pot with 1-2 inches of water and warm gently (do not boil).