Description\/Taste Grape leaves are a heart-shaped leaf with a similar structure to that of a maple leaf. Though each sheet will vary in color and texture, all grape leaves may have three main triangular points facing out from the leaf’s stem. Grape leaves don’t develop much flavor, unlike the fruits of the vine. Their culinary purpose is to function as a vessel and textural component. Once cooked, the leaves will absorb and reflect the flavor profiles of the ingredients they carry. Seasons\/Availability Fresh grape leaves are available in mid-summer through early winter. Grape leaves are harvested from grape vines, fresh, whole and young, while they’re still green.
They’re subsequent crops and account for the smallest percentage of commercial production that grape vines are cultivated for. Applications Fresh grape leaves have one purpose in the kitchen. Complimentary matches for grape leaves can be seasonal and regional. Grape leaves can be filled with ground meats, rice, Bulgars, minced veggies, cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, and spices. They may also be adorned with traditional sauces and those that reflect a personal infusion. Appetizers prepared with cheeses, citrus, cream, olive oil, kinds of vinegar – each would provide a complimentary accompaniment to stuffed grape leaves. Fresh grape leaves must be blanched in warm water or a brine solution of salt and water to create an edible and flexible product.
They’re eaten fresh or preserved via canning methods, which must be adhered to avoid the rare case of botulism strictly. They may also be stored in layers of parchment paper in a sealed container and kept frozen for up to 6 months. Grape leaves are stuffed with lamb and rice, mint, fennel, parsley, dill garlic and pine nuts and served cold or hot with the lemon based sauce, avgolemono, and finished with olive oil. Cultivation spread through the region via the Phoenicians. Grapevine cultivation for food and wine will ultimately become a cultural significance for Ancient Greece, North Africa, Europe and even the Americas, as there are several Viti’s cultivars which are native to the New World.