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Grape Leaves
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  • Post #31 - August 28th, 2005, 7:03 pm
    Post #31 - August 28th, 2005, 7:03 pm Post #31 - August 28th, 2005, 7:03 pm
    It looks to me from a quick google search that grape leaves should be harvested from spring to mid-summer, before they get tough.
  • Post #32 - September 17th, 2005, 1:49 pm
    Post #32 - September 17th, 2005, 1:49 pm Post #32 - September 17th, 2005, 1:49 pm
    Hi,

    Today at Culinary Historians the guest lecturer was May Bsisu who wrote The Arab Table. Her preferred method of preservation is cleaning, freezing and blanching before rolling. She also collects the leaves early in the season advising it is too late for this year.

    Geo and others - I will be taking up your offers to pick grape leaves next year. I meant to do it this year, certainly discussed it up the wazoo but never quite made a date.

    In May's book she also has a chapter on preparing various middle eastern spice blends at home, which may interest some here.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #33 - May 26th, 2006, 4:10 pm
    Post #33 - May 26th, 2006, 4:10 pm Post #33 - May 26th, 2006, 4:10 pm
    HI,

    I'd love to go grape leaf picking with someone this year!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #34 - May 26th, 2006, 4:21 pm
    Post #34 - May 26th, 2006, 4:21 pm Post #34 - May 26th, 2006, 4:21 pm
    Hi C2--

    Unfortunately, I no longer live in Whitewater, so I can't invite you up. : (

    There are still some grapes on the property, but we'd have to talk to the folks who bought the place--which is possible, of course. But you can probably find something easier to deal with.

    Sorry!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #35 - May 26th, 2006, 6:09 pm
    Post #35 - May 26th, 2006, 6:09 pm Post #35 - May 26th, 2006, 6:09 pm
    Cathy, you're always welcome to come to my house and take as many grape leaves as you want. I've not yet ventured into making stuffed grape leaves....yet.

    Side bonus? Trip to By-Bys....it's not far from my house (and I've not been there).
  • Post #36 - May 27th, 2006, 7:48 am
    Post #36 - May 27th, 2006, 7:48 am Post #36 - May 27th, 2006, 7:48 am
    Inspired by the revival of this topic, I went out this morning to see what I had left of my wild grapes after the re-siding of the garage. The answer is "a few." I picked and put up a batch, but if the ones in my yard are any indication, I think waiting a week or two is probably a good idea. I'm going to be rolling some mighty small dolmas :) .

    For others who venture forth, here are my tips:
    1. Pick as close to the base of the leaf as you can. You don't want any stems because they'll poke holes in the blanched leaves when you stack them up.
    2. A good size is roughly the from the size of your palm up to your palm plus your first knuckles.
    3. My mom's recipe (above) calls for 40 grape leaves. Since many of them were really too small and because I'm sure to goof up and tear some, I put up a batch of 45.
    4. As you clean them, nip off any remaining bits of stem.
    5. All it takes is a very brief blanch. Less than a minute.
    6. Stop the cooking (as you always would) by draining and then running them under a lot of cold water or dropping them in a bowl of ice water.
    7. Stack them up with the bases aligned and with the underside of the leaf facing you (the underside is ribbed--it's easy to tell). This takes a little more time, but makes it much easier when you're ready to use them.
    8. Slide the pile into a freezer bag and stick in the freezer. You're all set.

    The whole project, which included wandering around my yard looking for remaining vines with big enough leaves, took maybe 30 minutes. It would take much less if you had a more visible supply of bigger leaves.
  • Post #37 - October 29th, 2010, 7:55 am
    Post #37 - October 29th, 2010, 7:55 am Post #37 - October 29th, 2010, 7:55 am
    anyone know of a west suburban source(south of I-88 prefrably) for frozen grape leaves(or ideally betel leaf my first choice, but grape leaves can be used as a subtitute in a recipe I am doing Sunday)?

    going to make some calls to Whole Paycheck, Lassak, Whole Grain Market, and a couple Indian stores in the area to start.
    Last edited by jimswside on October 29th, 2010, 9:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #38 - October 29th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Post #38 - October 29th, 2010, 9:15 am Post #38 - October 29th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Wow...what great info. I've been trying to grow grapes for 5 years, and all I get are leaves! Now at least I know I can do something with them!
    Thanks!
  • Post #39 - October 29th, 2010, 10:35 am
    Post #39 - October 29th, 2010, 10:35 am Post #39 - October 29th, 2010, 10:35 am
    I dont have to settle for grape leaves after all, I found fresh betel leaves @ an Indian market in Downers Grove...
  • Post #40 - July 2nd, 2011, 12:46 pm
    Post #40 - July 2nd, 2011, 12:46 pm Post #40 - July 2nd, 2011, 12:46 pm
    HI,

    A gentle reminder this time of year is when people collect their grape leaves growing wild seemingly everywhere.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #41 - July 2nd, 2011, 1:19 pm
    Post #41 - July 2nd, 2011, 1:19 pm Post #41 - July 2nd, 2011, 1:19 pm
    Yup, C2, before they grow old and leathery. I usually go for leaves #6-#9, counting back from the growing tip.

    And folks, stay away from cultivated grapes--most are sprayed!

    Good hunting!!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #42 - June 15th, 2014, 5:17 pm
    Post #42 - June 15th, 2014, 5:17 pm Post #42 - June 15th, 2014, 5:17 pm
    Hi,

    I made two batches of stuffed grape leave this. While I could have gone out to gather grape leaves, I used store-bought instead.

    The first jar was Rashaya's from Turkey. Most of these grape leaves were small. They were in a sharp vinegar pickling liquid.

    For the second round of grape leaves, I bought Krinos brand. While the jar was tall and narrow with three tightly packed rolls, the net weight was only one ounce more than the Turkish. The leaves were larger with no stems to trim off. The pickling liquid was less assertive.

    For my tastes, I'd seek out Krinos next time.

    I kept the briny chicken broth I cooked the stuffed grape leaves. I plan to cook some potatoes and chop up a few leftover leaves to make a sour soup.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #43 - June 17th, 2014, 9:03 am
    Post #43 - June 17th, 2014, 9:03 am Post #43 - June 17th, 2014, 9:03 am
    In past years I've had wild grape vines growing in my yard. Have not check for them this year but I will.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #44 - June 17th, 2014, 12:01 pm
    Post #44 - June 17th, 2014, 12:01 pm Post #44 - June 17th, 2014, 12:01 pm
    I had no idea that the leaves from wild grape vines could be used for dolmas. I have wild grape vines growing on my front fence, I was thinking of cutting them down since they are smothering the shrubs, but now I might keep them. If anybody wants to collect leaves from these vines, I live in Rogers Park. PM me and I will give you the address. You can pick them off the fence.
  • Post #45 - June 17th, 2014, 12:13 pm
    Post #45 - June 17th, 2014, 12:13 pm Post #45 - June 17th, 2014, 12:13 pm
    Wild grapes work just fine, and this is their tenderest season. Blanch for 15 sec in salted boiling water, then rinse in cold water.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #46 - June 17th, 2014, 12:14 pm
    Post #46 - June 17th, 2014, 12:14 pm Post #46 - June 17th, 2014, 12:14 pm
    When I was growing up, grape vines grew on the fence in our six-flat's backyard. Every year, a very old Greek woman would come and pick the leaves. We never saw her otherwise and had no idea who she was or how she knew about the vines. Every year, my mother would try to ask her how to prepare the leaves, but she didn't speak enough English to answer.
  • Post #47 - June 17th, 2014, 12:37 pm
    Post #47 - June 17th, 2014, 12:37 pm Post #47 - June 17th, 2014, 12:37 pm
    Other than Cathy's potato soup with grape leaves, and using in pickles, does anyone have suggestions for uses or recipe alternatives to stuffed grape leaves? I guess I could use them as I would any green, but recipe ideas are more fun.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #48 - June 17th, 2014, 2:31 pm
    Post #48 - June 17th, 2014, 2:31 pm Post #48 - June 17th, 2014, 2:31 pm
    I always wondered if hops leaves would work for dolmathes. I guess they would be too bitter without that natural sourness that grape leaves have.
  • Post #49 - June 17th, 2014, 2:39 pm
    Post #49 - June 17th, 2014, 2:39 pm Post #49 - June 17th, 2014, 2:39 pm
    d4v3 wrote:I always wondered if hops leaves would work for dolmathes. I guess they would be too bitter without that natural sourness that grape leaves have.

    Hi,

    I wonder how sour a fresh (or frozen) grape leaf may be. Most of our experience is with pickled grape leaves, which have vinegar to lower the pH. Grape leaves may be a very different experience cooked fresh.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #50 - June 26th, 2014, 4:01 pm
    Post #50 - June 26th, 2014, 4:01 pm Post #50 - June 26th, 2014, 4:01 pm
    laikom wrote:Other than Cathy's potato soup with grape leaves, and using in pickles, does anyone have suggestions for uses or recipe alternatives to stuffed grape leaves? I guess I could use them as I would any green, but recipe ideas are more fun.

    This article may not have recipes, it does provide information to search elsewhere for recipes using rolled leaves and not just grape or cabbage: Silky seduction
    ...
    It must be the use of grape leaves that is so unique about Anatolian regional cuisines. Sarma, meaning wrapped or enveloped, is a generic name to all stuffed leaf-based dishes.
    ...
    The cherry leaf wrapped dish of Malatya is a taste to die for. Stuffed with no meat, but a mixture of raw cracked wheat, and laden with a thick layer of caramelized onions, poured with melted butter and garlic yogurt, it is a taste to experience. The distinctive bitter almond flavor of the cherry penetrates into the filling through the leaves, and creates the unique taste reminiscent of the fruit itself. The very same dish is also prepared with the leaves of the white mulberry, ending up in a dish faintly sweet and silky smooth, again resembling the fruit and the tree, which is strangely related to silk production. Morus alba, the white mulberry tree is the natural habitat of silkworms.
    ...

    I just noticed in a box below there is a suggestion to fry brined grape leaves in olive oil until crisp. Enjoy with wine and cheese.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #51 - March 24th, 2016, 8:13 am
    Post #51 - March 24th, 2016, 8:13 am Post #51 - March 24th, 2016, 8:13 am
    Hi,

    What is the expected texture for stuffed grape leaves?

    Recently I ordered stuffed grape leaves at the Pita Inn. It had a very mushy rice filling.

    For the last few years, I make stuffed grape leaves using a lamb and rice mixture. They simmer for about an hour. The texture is rather firm.

    Last night, I made stuffed grape leaves to finish up a jar of leaves. I began simmering them, then went back to work. I forgot about them, so they simmered at least two hours. The rice was overcooked and mushy, just like Pita Inn's except for the addition of meat.

    Is mushy the style or something firmer? I recognize there is an element of personal preference. Just curious what is the usual style.

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #52 - March 24th, 2016, 11:58 am
    Post #52 - March 24th, 2016, 11:58 am Post #52 - March 24th, 2016, 11:58 am
    I usually go for something a bit firmer than mushy, but as you note, it's just a personal preference. When I was in grad school (centuries ago) there was a little Greek hole-in-the-wall restaurant (or maybe hole-under-the-wall, as it was in a basement location) that served dolmades with a nice bite to them.
  • Post #53 - March 26th, 2016, 2:25 pm
    Post #53 - March 26th, 2016, 2:25 pm Post #53 - March 26th, 2016, 2:25 pm
    Because I've grown grapes since forever, I've always had leaves to give to friends and friends of friends, many of whom are from the eastern end of the Med. My only requirement is that some of the final product find its way back into my mouth.

    Most all of them really prefer fresh leaves since they stay relatively crisp during cooking, as compared to the canned leaves. They also retain a bit of lemony tartness, which is a delightful taste complement to the lambey richness.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #54 - June 8th, 2022, 9:28 pm
    Post #54 - June 8th, 2022, 9:28 pm Post #54 - June 8th, 2022, 9:28 pm
    Hi,

    Last week, I bought two jars of grape leaves for $2 each. This inspired making some stuffed grape leaves this evening.

    I learned why these were so cheap, because they were awful. Many tattered leaves, some leaves appeared older than I normally encounter, and heavy thick stems, another indicator these may not be young. Maybe 25% these I needed to double up to create a large enough surface to stuff.

    The brand was Sera grape leaves from Turkey.

    My favorite is Ziyad with the label stating 'California style,' that normally run about $5. I did once go to a close-out store, which had these marked down to a dollar. I bought enough jars to keep me happy for several years.

    One more jar of those awful grape leaves to go. I think I will use these for 'Unstuffed Grape Leaves,' which require chopping the leaves up. A few will go to wrap some Feta for the grill.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #55 - June 9th, 2022, 7:52 am
    Post #55 - June 9th, 2022, 7:52 am Post #55 - June 9th, 2022, 7:52 am
    C2,
    This is the perfect time to gather you some grape leaves. They're fresh and tender. Should be all around you, wild. Go out to any hedge row near you and what you've got are wild riparia vines. Totally safe. Gather the leaves. Pickle them a bit in salt water and bingo! that's it.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)

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