Preserved Grape Leaves

Grape leaves are an essential component of delicious dolma (or tolma). While you can conveniently buy them ready-made in a shop, the following recipe (and video) share how you can pick and preserve your own!

Ingredients:

 

For a small batch:

  • 42 grape leaves
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/4th teaspoon citric acid
  • 3-4 lemon wedges, or lemon juice (optional)
Preserved Grape Leaves

Directions:

 

  • Remove the end stems from your grape leaves and place them in a bowl
  • Rinse them thoroughly
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, and submerge your leaves for about one minute for them to soften
  • Remove from heat and either rinse them off with cool water or submerge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process
  • Separate them in piles (in this case, 3 piles of 14)
  • Begin stacking the leaves in each pile on top of each other, with the veiny side facing up
  • When you are halfway through your pile (in this case, at the seventh leaf), sprinkle on some coarse sea salt
  • Once you complete your pile sprinkle coarse sea salt on it again
  • You can now place the different bunches into freezer bags and freeze them, defrosting them when needed
  • Alternatively, you can roll up each bunch and place them in a sterilized jar
  • If using lemon wedges, distribute them within the jar
  • Make your brine by mixing in 4 heaping tablespoons of coarse sea salt and 1/4th teaspoon of citric acid into two cups of boiling water
  • Pour your brine into your jar and seal it
  • Once the jar reaches room temperature, place it in the fridge
  • You can use it in a few days, or keep the jar unopened in the fridge for use in the winter
Note: To use the fresh grape leaves the same day you plan on making dolma, simply boil them in salted water for one minute, remove them from the heat, and allow them to cool. You can add lemon juice to the broth you cook your dolma in for more flavor!

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