Grape Leaf Uses
Green Grape leaf harvested from grapevines is used by Greek and Middle Eastern cooks to wrap foods, as in the classic dish dolmas.
Jars of grape leaves are available in the ethnic foods section of most grocery stores. They’re also available in Middle Eastern markets and gourmet shops.
Grape leaves should be stored in their brine in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator.
The briny taste of the leaves can be tempered by rinsing them with cold water before using them. Perhaps you want to try to make them by yourself? If so, here is the method.
How To Preserve Grape Leaf
You may quickly preserve your grape leaves gathered from your backyard. Here is a recipe.
Preserved Grape Leaves
- 50 to 70 grape leaves
- 11 cups water, divided
- 1/4 cup salt
- Lemon wedges
- 3 cups vinegar
- Sterilize two 1-quart canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Rinse grape leaves. Use only young leaves that have not been exposed to chemicals or pesticides
- Pour eight cups of water into a large saucepan
- Add salt
- Bring to boil
- Append grape leaves
- Boil for 30 seconds.
- Drain, remove water in skillet
- Allow leaves to rest until cool enough to handle
- Place shiny-sides-up leaves in stacks of 10 or 15 with the largest leaves on the bottom
- Roll up each stack and tie it with string
- Pack vertically into hot sterilized jars
- If necessary, trim edges of rolls to fit the pot—Tuck in several lemon wedges
- Pour the remaining 3 cups water and 3 cups vinegar into a large saucepan
- Bring to boil
- Pour over leaves in jars, covering completely
- Seal jars according to manufacturer’s instructions
Wrap a few layers of the grape leaf around small rounds of goat cheese and bake the cheese in the oven or put over a low charcoal fire until the cheese softens. Spread the soft cheese on baguettes.
Wrap grape leaves around small game birds such as quail or small fish before grilling.
TIPS FOR COOKS
Some cooks put the grape leaf in the brine for cucumber pickles to make the pickles crisp.
If using fresh vine leaves, wash them well and blanch them for 10 seconds in boiling water before preparing the recipe.
If rolling the grape leaves more than 2 hours before serving, brush or drizzle them with a few drops of olive oil to keep them shiny.
When making fillings for dolmas, compensate for any residual saltiness in the leaves by cutting back on the salt used.
RICE-STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES (DOLMAS)
Yield: About 40 portions.
6 cups water
1/2 (16-ounce) jar grape leaves, unrolled
Two onions, grated
1 cup uncooked rice
Three tablespoons currants
Two tablespoons pine nuts
Two tablespoons allspice
1/4 cup chopped mint1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill, stems reserved
Two tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
One tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste2 (14.5-ounce) cans of low-sodium broth
1. Boil leaves in water for 2 minutes. Remove. Drain in a colander. Separate leaves. Trim stems. Lay leaves around colander rim.
2. Mix onions, rice, currants, pine nuts, allspice, mint, parsley, dill, lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt. Put parsley and dill stems in the bottom of a large pan. Cover with a layer of grape leaves.
3. Place a tablespoon of filling on the stem end. Fold in sides. Fold stem end up overfilling. Roll to the tip of a leaf. Place seam side down in the pan. Repeat with remaining filling leaves. If you need to make a second layer, cover dolmas with a layer of leaves and proceed.
4. Add broth. Cover with leaves. Weight dolmas down with a plate. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour. Cool covered.
Recipe note: Adapted from a recipe by Biray Yersu Altan of West Palm Beach published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
Nutrition information per serving
- Calories 64
- Fat 4 mg
- Cholesterol 0.42 mg
- Sodium 175 mg
- Carbohydrate 7 mg
- Protein 1 mg