Wild Grape Leaf Recipes

Grape LeavesWILD GRAPE LEAVES

Brined Wild Grape Leaves

Be sure to harvest the large, tender, minty-green colored leaves; the dark, older leaves tend to be stringy and fibrous.
The whey (optional) that is called for in the recipe is made by taking plain yogurt that has live cultures in it and putting it in a clean cloth inside a large mesh strainer (I use a bandanna). Put the strainer over a bowl and allow it to drip for several hours. The liquid in the bowl is the whey, the leftover yogurt can be used something like a cream cheese. See this link for detailed instructions with photos.

3 dozen (36) Grape Leaves fills one quart mason jar. This recipe is for one quart, multiply it by how many jars you will be filling.
3 dozen Wild Grape Leaves
1 Tablespoon sea salt
4 Tbsp whey (if not available use an additional tablespoon salt)
2 cups water

Grape Leaves in Brine1. Mix the brine together in a bowl and set aside.
2. Stack the Grape leaves one on top of the other until you have a stack of 12 (1 dozen).
3. Then roll up this stack into a tight roll and put it in the jar.
4. Make 2 more rolls like this to fill the jar. (3 dozen in all)
5. Pour the brine over the rolls of leaves until the jar is full and cap it.
6. When you have all the jars filled and capped, leave them to sit out on a counter for 48 hours on a towel, as there will be a little leakage. This causes a healthy lacto-fermentation process to begin.
7. After 48 hours put all the jars in the fridge and forget about them for at least a month.
8. After four weeks they are ready to use. They will keep all year like this, so you can use them anytime you desire to make Dolmas.

Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves (Dolmas)

This recipe makes about 3 dozen Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves. Make ahead of time and allow the filling to cool before rolling into the Wild Grape leaves.

Dolmas1½ cups uncooked rice (try wild rice for an extra wild treat)
2¼ cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1½ cups minced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh mint, minced (optional: increase parsley to ½ cup if you don’t have mint)
½ cup pine nuts (optional)

1. Cook rice and water in a pan until tender.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onion and olive oil together until tender.
3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and pine nuts to the sauté and cook gently for about 5 more minutes.
4. Allow rice to cool, and then put it into a bowl and mix in the sauté, the lemon juice and parsley and mint. Mix well. This is your filling.

To roll the Grape leaves:
1. Put each leaf shiny side down on a flat, clean surface.
2. Put a heaping Tablespoon of filling near the stem end.
3. Fold in the sides and roll tightly into a roll.
4. Arrange the stuffed leaves onto an olive-oiled cookie sheet.
5. Brush the tops of each roll generously with olive oil using a pastry brush.
6. Bake at 325° for about 20 minutes, until heated through.
7. Allow to cool thoroughly, then brush them a second time with olive oil.
8. Make a mixture of 3 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp salt. Using your pastry brush again, coat each roll generously with the lemon/salt mixture.
9. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and serve cold.
The Dolmas look really pretty arranged on a tray and garnished with thin slices of lemon.

Click here for a webpage with photos of the stuffing and rolling process.

Vension-Wild Rice filling

For a wilder version of the dolmas, try this filling:
1 cup ground venison
½ cup uncooked wild rice (bits and pieces)
1½cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1½ cups minced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
½cup fresh wild greens, minced
½ cup hickory nuts
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Cook rice and water in a pan until tender.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onion, olive oil, and ground venison together until browned.
3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and hickory nuts to the sauté and cook gently for about 5 more minutes.
4. Allow rice to cool, and then put it into a bowl and mix in the sauté, the lemon juice, and the wild greens. Mix well. This is your filling.

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