Verjus Cooking Wine, France

Versus pronounced vair-ZHOO), sometimes spelled verjuice, is a French term that when translated into English mean “green juice." It is a medieval condiment that was once a staple of French provincial cooking and is now enjoying a worldwide revival. In medieval times the term verjus could refer to the juice of a variety of unripe fruit - from grapes to plums.
Today, Verjus is made from semi-ripe and unfermented wine grapes. The grapes are hand-picked from the vine during a period called veraison (when the grapes change in color and the berries begin to soften enough to press). Grapes are thinned to reduce the crop load in our vineyard. The thinned grapes are high in acid and low in sugar. Sugars at this harvest can range between 13 and 15 brix. In Oregon, veraison occurs sometime in mid August. Because verjus is made from wine grapes and shares the same acid-base as wine, it is an elegant and delicate alternative to vinegar and lemon juice as it is “wine friendly” and will not distort the essence of the wine you serve.  Use wherever vinegar and white wine are used in cooking.
Verjuice is versatile, delicious and refreshing. It is a natural flavor enhancer and therefore adds dimension and richness to your cooking, and can be used in larger quantities than either lemon or vinegar.
         Linda Stradley. What's Cooking America


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