Gather grapevine leaves in early summer when they are still tender, then preserve them in brine according to this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 50 to 75 freshly picked grape leaves
  • ½ cup pure salt
  • 2 quarts water

Method

Wash the leaves well and stack them in piles of 10 leaves per pile. Roll each little pile of leaves into a cigar shape. Add the salt to the water in a wide nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Add the rolls of leaves to the brine, turn off the heat, and, using tongs, place the rolls into a sterilized wide-mouth pint jar, packing it tightly. Pour the brine in to fill the jar ¼ inch from the rim. Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place. No need to process these heavily brined grape leaves. They will last about a year.

When you’re ready to use the leaves, remove a roll of leaves, unroll it, and place in a bowl of warm water for easy handling. Rinse each leaf well before using. If the leaves are too tough, simmer them for 10 minutes in water. After opening, store the jar in the refrigerator. Use for Stuffed Grape Leaves.

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