Question: Can You Prep Your Own Grapes Leaves To Make Dolmades?

April 9, 2010
Most recipes call for prepared grape leaves, can you prep you own easily?


tasteofbeirut's picture

I do not recommend using jarred grape leaves; they will give you tough, stringy, rubbery stuffed grape leaves; the reason is they are picked when old; you need to use young and tender grape leaves and they need to be fresh; if you have these fresh leaves, just boil them for a couple of minutes and drain them and then use later or the next day.
For the sake of practicality, I use swiss chard leaves, which are used in Lebanon in the same way as grape leaves; these have the advantage of being fresh, and when cooked they will be tender and melting; to prep them, remove the tough inner stalk, cut the leaves in 4X4 squares and boil in lightly salted water for a minute or so; drain and use as you would grape leaves.

Ken Albala's picture

Yes! But even if you don't want to use them immediately, just put them in brine in a sealed jar. They keep wonderfully throughout the season b/c they're naturally acidic. I like brined store-bought leaves too, but I agree sometimes they're old stringy leaves. Sometimes tender and young. You can tell by the color. Usually the darker the older.

Sarah Melamed's picture

Some people like the flavor of cured grape leaves but I try to pick them fresh.
I blanch the leaves for a short time, a few seconds to minutes depending on the toughness of the leaves. The leaves need to be boiled only until they are supple enough to easily fold over.