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Dolmades anyone? The wild grape leaves have just unfurled and are absolutely perfect

2:08 PM

Admittedly, with 2 young kids in the house the "veggie growing" portion of my mini-homestead lifestyle has been... uuhh... lacking.   But, living in a house that has been here for over 150 years in an (albeit formerly) agricultural community, has some inherent perks.  The now wild grapevines growing in the hedgerow are certainly to be counted among those perks.  Yep.  I've torn a good amount of them down, but they keep coming back (go figure) and they are actually quite useful if you take the time to process and prepare what they have to offer. 

The leaves have unfurled bright green and tender over the last couple of weeks, so I decided to pickle a small batch for later use as "wrappers" for Greek Dolmades.

This was super-easy and the recipe I based it off of was very intuitive and fun to do.  My kind of canning!

Preserved Grape Leaves for Dolmades 
Modified from honest-food.net's recipe

20 to 40 grape leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Pint-sized jar with lid

That's it!!

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough Seasalt to make a brine that "tastes like the sea".
  2. Get a large bowl of ice water ready.
  3. Boil the grape leaves for 30 to 45 seconds, then plunge into the ice water to cool. Drain them once the leaves are all cool.
  4. Take about 6 grape leaves at a time and roll them up into a cigar from the side — not the top or bottom. You will need to fold over the leaf end to fit into the pint jars. Pack the grape leaves into a clean (disinfected) pint jar, making sure you have about 1 inch of head space at the top.
  5. Add the lemon juice to the pint jar. Bring the water you used to cook the grape leaves back to a boil and ladle it into the jar to fill the rest of the way. Make sure the grape leaves are covered with the brine. Wipe the edge of the pint jar with a clean towel and seal the jar. 
  6. Let cool on the shelf until the jar lid seals itself, then store in the refridgerator until you're ready to make Dolmades.
   Can't wait to try these!   Will update with a "Dolmades" post once we've made them... probably for when friends come over.

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