Stuffed Grape Leaves
It is advised that if you have access to a grape vine, the "BEST" leaves should be picked in June when they first start to come on the vine. Pick leaves that are about the size of the palm of your hand. If you pick leaves later in the year, try to pick the younger leaves as the older ones have a tendency to be tough and very bitter. Also, if you pick more leaves than for one service, just place as many leaves in plastic wrap (usually 50) then wrap in aluminum foil. Place in freezer. DO NOT WASH LEAVES BEFORE YOU STORE OR FREEZE THEM. WASH ONLY AT TIME OF USE. You can purchase pre-packed grape leaves at the grocery store, but you will find them very salty, hard to work with, and the taste will vary. If you save the leaves from the bottom of the pot, you can use them to cover any left overs and store in the refrigerator. For a warm up, place in microwave oven with a little lemon juice and a couple of pats of butter placed atop the leaves. Microwave for 4-5 minutes.