Preserving Grape Vine LeavesJun 15th, 2008 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Greek, How To, Main, Preserving
Next, a little follow up. Some people have been wondering about Petimezi, which I used in a glaze for my grilled quail.
Petimezi is made from the Must of grapes, during the harvest period. It can be found in a jar in better Greek markets, it’s known as Saba with the Italians and one can often find or ask for “grape syrup” at a middle eastern market. All are one and the same.
Many of you read my blog as you love and enjoy Greek food. You also know that Greeks cook alot using grape vine leaves.
Many of us will go to a market and easily purchase a jar of these tender leaves which are packed in a brined solution. Some are fortunate enough to be able to have a local source of fresh grape vine leaves, which are used to make a Greek fave, Dolmades
There are two paths one can take to preserving fresh grape vine leaves: one is to freeze them and the other is to jar your own. For those that prefer to freeze them, Lulu at Mama’s Taverna has a wonderful, easy method to which you can follow.
My “mama” likes to jar her own. It’s been years since we’ve jarred our own grape vine leaves, due in large part to fear of harvesting grape vine leaves that might have been sprayed with pesticides.
One of the few positive initiatives of Mayor David Miller has been to ban the use of pesticides in the city. Rejoice…fresh grape vine leaves are back!
I’ve featured Dolmades on my blog and you can have a peek here or if that won’t convince you, take a look at my friends’ who loved my mom’s recipe…it’s a keeper.
Now let’s jar our own fresh grape vine leaves.
The best time to pick these leaves are in the Spring. You want to pick large leaves (easier to roll dolmades) and the leaves will still be tender.
If you’re having a peek at the recipe, you’ll see what appears to be a large amount of grape leaves but no worries. For anyone that’s bought jarred grape leaves from the store, you’ll know that there’s always some ripped and torn leaves in the jar. The home made ones are no different, there’s some wastage.
Jarring Fresh Grape Vine Leaves
6 medium Sterilized Mason jars
approx 360 fresh grape vine leaves, stems snipped
1 cup pickling salt
12 cups of water
- Wash and pat dry your grape vine leaves and then divide them into piles of 20. Roll each pile like a cigar or multi-leaved dolma and place three rolls into each jar.
- In a large pot, add your water and pickling salt and bring to a boil. In order to test if your brine solution is salty enough, carefully drop an egg into the brine. If the egg floats, then your brine ratio is suffice.
- Take your brine off the heat and carefully pour the solution into each jar, enough to cover your grape vine leaves. When you’re done filling up all the jars, pour more brine into any jars that have absorbed the liquid.
- By this time, you will have noticed that the brine has changed the colour of your leaves from a vibrant green to olive hue. It’s perfectly normal.
- Using a tea towel, place the lids on each of the jars and tighten. A seal should form for each jar.
- Store in your cellar for up to one year.
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