Petimezi: Grape Syrup (Grape Molasses)

Greek Food Photos - Petimezi on Yogurt - Grape Molasses Syrup

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.

Ingredients

  • 65 pounds white grapes (pale green on stems, or 3 gallons of green grape must
  • 3/4 cup wood ash
  • For Storing: Rose-scented pelargonium leaves (scented geranium, or bay leaves)

Steps to Make It

If Starting From Scratch

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Working in manageable batches, in a large tub, squeeze the grapes by hand (or use a grape press) to get as much juice as possible.

  3. Pour the grapes and juice through a strainer, collecting the juice in a large bowl or pot. Discard the skins, seeds, and any pulp.

  4. Add 4 tablespoons of wood ash to a gallon of juice, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes. It will make a froth.

  5. Strain the juice through the tulle into a bowl, and discard any collected seeds and ash.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. Store in clean jars with a leaf of rose-scented pelargonium or a bay leaf (for a less sweet taste), away from light.

  4. Seal jars after the syrup has cooled completely. Do not refrigerate.

Tips

  • 65 pounds of grapes will yield about 3 gallons of juice.
  • You'll need a piece of tulle for this recipe.
  • Over time, the syrup may thicken. To thin, place the jar in a pot with 1 to 2 inches of water and warm gently (do not boil).

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