"Take some crab-apples ; when the kernels turn black, lay them in a heap to sweat ; then pick from the stalks and rottenness, stamp them to a mash, and press the juice through a bag of coarse hair-cloth into a clean vessel ; it will be fit for use in a month. If it is for white pickles, distill it in a cold still. It is also good to put into sauces, where lemon is wanting."
Charlotte Mason, The Lady’s Assistant for Regulating and Supplying the Table, 4th edition (1778)
Verjuice – which comes directly from the French vert jus; green juice – was once widely used as a sharp flavouring to add a strongly acid note to a range of dishes. I’ve already posted a more detailed account of the making and uses of verjuice via Richard Bradley’s method of 1732, but Bradley didn’t mention distilling verjuice into a white spirit to use in pickles, which could make for an interesting alternative to a more strongly-flavoured vinegar.
Alas, I have no crab apples this year, or I’d be tempted to have a go at making a batch of verjuice myself. How about you? Does it sound like a condiment you’d be interested in making? Or do you make verjuice on a regular basis, and have a few top tips to share? Please do let me know if so, via the comments.