Petimezi keeps almost forever, and it was one of the ancient sweeteners, together with honey, used as a sugar substitute when sugar was too expensive for the average Greek to afford. Its flavor is not just sweet, but much more complex, with slight bitter undertones. It is used in deserts when cooking and also as a sweet topping for some foods. It is still used today, and can be homemade but is also sold commercially under different brand names. There are light colored syrups and dark colored ones. Both are dependent on the type of grape that is being used.
Grapemust (petimezi) should not be confused with the term "grape must" (moustos). Grapemust is what is made when you reduce the must from grapes.
From late August until the beginning of December, you will find the dark crunchy and fragrant petimezi cookies Moustokoúloura (Greek: Μουστοκούλουρα). Most Greek bakeries sell moustokoúloura, and each baker has its own recipe for the cookies, that can be either small and hard, or large and crumbly.
Moustalevria is grapemust jelly. As its name implies – moustos means "must," and - alevri means "flour." The jelly was originally thickened with flour, or a combination of corn starch and flour. Today most cooks use just the corn starch. Ancient Cretans poured moustalevria on a tray, cut it into baklava shapes, dried it under the sun and kept it in big earthen jars for winter.
Here's a recipe for Petimezi:
This is 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 work wonders for sore throat and colds. On Crete, it's made in large quantities in September when grapes are harvested, and used throughout the year.
- 65 pounds of white (pale green) grapes on stems
- 4 tablespoons of wood ash (from the fireplace or barbecue grill)
- Rose-scented pelargonium leaves (scented geranium) or bay leaves (optional)
- You will also need a piece of tulle for this recipe.
(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).
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).
Alternative Method using must instead of the fresh grapes:
Boil 3 gallons of green grape 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.
From: Greek Food and Wikipedia