Sour Grapes at Pars Market in Columbia Maryland


Yup – these really are sour grapes. Cheek-suckingly, eye-wateringly sour. They even look mean, no?

 Sour Grape (Ghoreh) at Pars Market LLC Columbia Maryland 21045
Sour Grape (Ghoreh) at Pars Market

This, basically, is verjuice’s (verjus, for all you francophones out there) Mummy. The real deal. In Iran sour grapes are known as ghooreh, and verjuice as ab ghooreh, and they are a really important part of the cuisine. The season is awfully short (a few weeks in June/July), but the grapes are pressed, dried and ground, frozen and pickled so that we can enjoy their sharp goodness all the year round. Here are a few ideas on what to do with the stuff should it swing by your pantry/fridge.

A Big Bunch of Sour Grape at Pars Market LLC Columbia Maryland 21045
A Big Bunch of Sour Grape
  • Verjuice: i.e. the juice extracted from sour grapes. This finds its way into all manner of khoreshts *(or casseroles), and is somewhere between wine and vinegar in application. It is also used in salads in Iran, and is reputedly good for lowering high blood pressure/cholesterol. Strictly speaking it doesn’t need the fridge once opened: if you have a bottle, don’t be alarmed/go all squealy if it forms a king of must on top: just flick the mould off and carry on using it.


Verjuice (Sour Grape Juice) on the shelf at Pars Market Columbia, Maryland 21045
Verjuice (Sour Grape Juice) on the shelf at Pars Market
  • Sour grape powder: use like a spice – add to dishes at the sealing frying stage. It will add a lovely sharp zing to soups and stews. It is also great in marinades for fish and meat.   
Sadaf Brand Ground Sour Grape (Gard-e-Ghoreh) at Pars Market
Sadaf Brand Ground Sour Grape (Gard-e-Ghoreh) at Pars Market


  • Pickled Sour Grapes: apart from making a perfect gift for your mother-in-law (Les Dawson where are you now?), these can be dropped whole into casseroles/sauces to lend a dish little explosions of sharpness. You can also crush them into salad dressings and stuffing.


Sadaf Brand Pickled Sour Grape Ghooureh Ghoureh at Pars Market Columbia Maryland 21045
Sadaf Brand Pickled Sour Grape Ghooureh Ghoureh
  • Fresh or frozen: fresh ones (like the ones THAT-WE’VE-GOT-IN-THE-SHOP-RIGHT-NOW-PLEASE-FORM-AN-ORDERLY-QUEUE) need to be washed well and picked through. Detach them from their stalky bits, and then just plop them whole into salads, casseroles etc. Glorious – and they will keep your dinner guests guessing. Now is a good time to buy them to freeze as well: you can use them straight from the freezer. Silly serving idea: they are quite fun dropped whole-frozen into Martinis.
Frozen Sour Grapes in Package at Pars Market LLC
Frozen Sour Grapes in Package

That should give you something to be going on with. If you are popping by the shop at Pars Market this week, do stock up: these are a real culinary treat.

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Ras el Hanout a Moroccan spice and Recipe of Tagine at Pars Market LLC Columbia Maryland 21045

What is Ras el Hanout?

A prized Moroccan spice blend, Ras el Hanout takes its name from an Arabic phrase that can be loosely translated as “top of the shop”–meaning the very best a spice merchant has to offer. This complex medley of seasonings is notable for its rich aroma and well-balanced curry-like flavor.


Pars Market full Selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices in Columbia Maryland 21045
Jar of Ras el Hanout Spice at Pars Market


  • A traditional Moroccan spice blend with a rich, spicy aroma and deep, complex flavors.
  • Sprinkle the blend onto chicken and fish before pan-frying, grilling or baking to impart a rich, golden color and exotic spicy flavor.
  • Ras el Hanout is also a classic seasoning for grilled lamb, tagines and couscous dishes.
  • To ensure the most vibrant flavor and aroma, the seasonings are individually ground and blended.
  • Our best version of Ras el Hanout at Pars Market contains up to 50 herbs and spices – an aromatic bouquet of flavor
  • A Must-Have for Moroccan Cuisine
  • The premium, 100% all-natural ingredients for our Ras el Hanout at Pars Market sourced from the best selection of spices originally from Morocco.

At the very least, any food in which you include Ras el Hanout will inspire diners to kiss the cook, so you’ve got that goin’ for you!

 Here’s a recipe about making Tagine with Ras el Hanout. Which you can find all the spices and ingredients for this delicious dish at Pars Market!



  • 3 Tbs. ras el hanout
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 3 lb. short ribs, cut into serving pieces, external fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Syrah
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth, plus more, as needed
  • 1 Tbs. honey (optional)

For the spiced couscous:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a small bowl, stir together the ras el hanout, paprika, the 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Rub the mixture over the short ribs, coating them evenly. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Heat a large, heavy fry pan over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and heat until the surface shimmers. Add the short ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat in the pan. Add the onion, carrots, squash and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes and the 1/2 cup stock.

Transfer the mixture to a tagine. Add the short ribs, pushing them down into the vegetables. Cover the tagine, transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the spiced couscous: Rinse the couscous in a fine-mesh sieve under cold running water. Set aside to drain for 15 minutes.

Fill the bottom compartment of the couscoussiere halfway with water, making sure the water does not touch the steam tray above. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Spread the couscous out on a baking sheet and aerate by lightly rubbing the clumps between your palms and raking your fingers through the couscous.

Line the steam tray with a piece of cheesecloth. Brush the cheesecloth with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Place the couscous on the cheesecloth. Cover the couscoussiere and steam for 20 minutes. Again, spread the couscous out on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1/4 cup cold water, the turmeric and the 1/2 tsp. salt. Sprinkle the liquid over the couscous and aerate with your fingers, breaking up any lumps.

Make sure there is still water in the lower compartment, then return the couscous to the lined steam tray. Cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl. Using a spoon, gently fold in the currants, orange zest and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Transfer the short ribs to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes, then skim the fat off the surface. If the sauce is too thick, stir in more stock, 2 Tbs. at a time. Stir in the honey, and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Divide the spiced couscous among warmed bowls. Top with the short ribs and sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

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What is Verjuice?

Photo of Pars Market Sour Grape Juice selection

Juice of young grapes, tart in flavor known as (ABB-e-GHOREH) called Verjuice in French, used mostly in Persian cooking Add to Aash and soups or meat and chicken stocks, Persian Sauces, Khoreshts,  Works in salad dressings too to add flavor and tartness to dishes, Not from Concentrate Made from fresh sour Grape Fruit The Indispensable Ingredient for Persian Cuisine Rich in Anti-oxidants, Reputedly good for high blood pressure. reducing Cholesterol level in body and so healthy! at Pars Market we widely carry long selection of Sour Grape Juices and want you to try some for your health or cooking need! 

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