The fresh leaves are sold in the markets at harvest time, but they can be found all year round preserved in brine. Before being used, the fresh leaves need to be softened by being tossed into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds, then refreshed in cold water. The preserved leaves must be soaked in several changes of cold water for at least an hour to remove the salt. Harbouring an unusual malty flavour, vine leaves are wrapped around pieces of cheese, seafood, fish and chicken before baking or grilling. Fresh, preserved and poached leaves are also wrapped around small homemade cheeses to keep them moist. The packages of vine leaves stuffed with an aromatic rice, yalancı yaprak dolması, are legendary.
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