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Making Charab el-Hosroum

The unripe sour grapes are washed and crushed

Charab el-Hosroum  or “verjuice” (from French vert jus meaning green juice) is an acidic concentrate made from unripe grapes. It used to season food like salads, instead of using lemon juice. Charab el-Hosroum or debs el-Hosroum making is a labor intensive activity that our ancestors used to do. It needed strong arms to squeeze the grapes and extract the juice. Today, juicer machines are being used to gain time and produce more quantities.

Hosroum simmering on fire
Crushed grapes simmering on wood fire

The sour grapes are collected then washed and crushed using a juicer or by hand (the old way). The juice and grapes are then put on fire and let simmer for hours. It is also worth mentioning, that in some villages, pressing or macerating grapes used to be made by stepping on the grapes with bare feet, a process called “grape stomping” also performed in wine making; an activity gathering family members and friends.

Stirring the grapes and removing the scum

The mixture is stirred and the scum (foam) is removed every time it is formed. The mixture is brought to a boil and then left to cool. When the grapes and juice are cooled down, the juice is extracted by putting the “hosroum” in a cloth bag.

Housruom 4
Extracting the concentrated juice

The obtained juice is strained again and then boiled until its color darkens and its volume is reduced by about a third. When the “hosroum” concentrate cools down, it is then poured into sterilized bottles and closed tight.

houssroum 6
Hosroum is strained before it is boiled again to obtain the final product