Preserved Grape Leaves

If you love grape leaf dolma (stuffed grape leaves), then listen up! Store-bought grape leaves are gross! They are way too tough, and usually larger than they should be. They also don’t cook properly, which means they don’t melt in your mouth, like freshly picked leaves do. That’d only a few reasons why I highly recommend that you try this preserved grape leaves recipe. If you just take a little time and preserve your own leaves, the end result will be so worth it!

Not all leaves are appropriate for picking. Some are too old, too tough, or the wrong shape. Let’s go over some pointers on which leaves are desirable for picking and preserving.

 

Goes Well With

Dolmathes



Print Recipe
Preserved Grape Leaves
preserved grape leaves
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
leaves
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
leaves
Ingredients
preserved grape leaves
Instructions
  1. First, you want thin, tender leaves, that are usually lighter in color. ​
    grape leaves
  2. If a leaf feels dry or leathery, or is yellowing around the edges and has "rust spots", it's past it's picking prime.
    dry grape leaves
  3. The shape is also important. Some grape varieties have a deep split in the leaves, which doesn't allow you ample space to add the filling, and will be more difficult to stuff. (see below)
    grape leaves
  4. Other varieties have less of a split, which are ideal. Luckily, the vine I have in my yard has perfectly shaped leaves!
    grape leaf 2
  5. The leaf size also matters! If it's too small, it will be impossible to stuff. If it's too big, your dolma will look too big, and the leaves will be too tough. The leaf size that works the best is around 6". The leaf pictured below is way too big!
    large grape leaves
  6. This one? Way too small!
    grape leaf small
  7. Now this, this my friends is a perfectly sized grape leaf!
    ideal perfect leaf
  8. When you pick the leaves, don't do it like my sister, Beni, does! She picks them with a couple inches of stem still attached. When you do this, you're making more work for yourself because you will have to cut the stem down to the leaf later. (sorry sis, I still love you!)
    long stemmed leave
  9. Simply cut the stem off as close to the leaf as possible, so that you don't have to deal with the stem later. Genius, right?
    grape leaves stacked
  10. Now that we've covered the basics regarding what attributes make the perfect leaf, we can discuss the process of preserving them for later use.
Let's get started!
  1. The recipe for grape leaf dolma in my cookbook calls for 60 grape leaves, so that's how many I place in each jar. If you want to add more, go for it! The first step is to wash the leaves thoroughly, paying special attention to the back of the leaves, where bugs like to hang out and party!
    grape leaves
  2. Next, put the leaves in piles of ten, making sure all the leaves are facing the same direction. No, I'm not telling you this because I'm OCD, it will make things easier when it comes time to stuff them. You won't have to waste time turning each leaf to the right side before stuffing.
    leaves on a plate
  3. Boil approximately 8 cups of water, then simmer on low. Using tongs, gently place one pile of leaves in the water for 20 seconds, then carefully flip the entire pile and immerse for an additional 20 seconds. You will notice that the leaves will go from bright green to a brownish color, which is a good thing.
    leaves
  4. After the leaves have changed colors, remove from the boiling water and drape over the side of a bowl and continue with the remaining piles.
    grape leaves
  5. Once the water has drained out of the leaves, roll each pile into a cigar-shaped roll.
    grape leaves
  6. Tie either each pile or all of the piles together with string. This will help keep them from unrolling when you place them in the jar and add the boiling water.
    grape leaves
  7. Boil three cups of water and stir in the salt and citric acid until completely dissolved. Stand the leaves in a sterilized jar and pour the boiling water over them, leaving 1/2" headspace.
    grape leaves jarred
  8. You will notice the leaves will rise to the top when you add the water, don't panic! Once you place the lid on the jar, the leaves will settle to the bottom. ​
    cooked grape leaves
  9. Tighten the lid and store in a cool place until the next time you're in the mood for dolma! Questions, comments? Don't be shy, ask away!
    preserved grape leaves
Share this Recipe


Leave a Reply


Join Mailing List
Get notified when a new recipe is posted!
We respect your privacy.