My only change was to substitute sichuan peppercorns for the two jalapeno peppers called for in the original recipe, simply because I was fresh out of jalapenos. I like the intense spiciness of the sichuan peppercorns and plan to continue to use them. I imagine that the jalapenos would present a more clean, straightforward heat.
Spicy Pickled Grapes
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup of water
6 fresh ginger coins, about 1/4-inch thick
3 star anise
1/2 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
1 pound red grapes, picked, rinsed clean and drained
In a non-reactive pan, combine everything but the grapes and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
Place the grapes in a bowl that can take heat and pour the brine over. Let steep until cool. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator up to one month.
Note: My grapes were 5 days old by the time I finished them off. They did get spicier the longer they sat, but I'm not sure what a month in the refrigerator will do to them. These are so good, however, that it's likely they won't last that long!
(Images: Dana Velden)