Along the Grapevine

Wild Grape Leaves

17 Comments

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This is the best time of year to collect wild grape leaves – or any grape leaves – but for this blog, I only consider the wild varieties. I haven’t had time to come up with any new recipes for this year, but decided to write on foraging them without delay so you can start collecting them and storing them to use in the months to come.

Grapes, particularly the wild variety, have been touted as a superfood, high in antioxidants among other things. However, the leaves also offer a wide range of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, magnesium and calcium.

They grow in super abundance in hedgerows, roadsides, and untended lots – even in the cities. They occur in every part of the world, excluding the Antarctica, so while your vines might not be identical to mine, you are bound to have some growing somewhere in the area no matter where you live.

Be sure to identify them properly, as with any wild food. In this area, there is one toxic look-alike called the common or Canadian moonweed (menispermum Canadense). Its fruit differs from the grape in that it has one crescent shaped seed, while the grape has several round ones. Before the fruit appears, they are distinguishable from the grape because the moonweed does not have tendrils, whereas the grape has tendrils which it uses to climb most commonly around trees and fences.

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Since I have started cooking with them, I have been surprised at how many uses they have. They are often added to pickles to retain the crispness of the vegetable. A few leaves in a pot of rice adds a good flavour as well as nutrition The recipes featured in my blog over the last year are:

Grape Leaf, Herb and Yogurt Pie

Dolmas

Grape Leaf Chips

Grape Leaves with Roasted Vegetables

To gather, pick unblemished leaves from plants which are not contaminated by pesticides or chemicals (near a busy road or railway tracks). Blanche them in boiling water just  until they wilt. Shake them dry and pile them neatly. Store and freeze in plastic bags. The younger light-coloured ones can be used fresh in a salad.

I will be posting recipes using these leaves soon – and of course later will follow with recipes using the fruit.

Tips on Spruce on Punk Domestics

 

 

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Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

17 thoughts on “Wild Grape Leaves

  1. I love your suggestions for grape leaves. I collect mine (domestic, alas, not wild) for dolmades and other Greek dishes, but also use them fresh to wrap,around fish on the grill. I’ve also been told that the tannin in them helps preserve the crispness in pickles – when added to the first cold soak stage. I haven’t tried it yet, but hope to do so with pickled watermelon rind.

  2. Cool!! We have a grapevine – not exiting just Thompson Seedless – but its leaves are gorgeous and organically grown. Been wondering how to use our clippings. Thx :)

  3. Thought you would enjoy this blog and think about using the grape leaves in your/our cooking.  We certainly have lots of them. XXOO

  4. I really wish that I had access to wild grape leaves, I love the taste of them! They are a bit like Nori but way more toothsome and not as salty, unless you brine the living daylights out of them. I see that you also have a recipe for wild grape leaf ketchup! You are so wonderfully creative, please don’t ever stop blogging!

  5. Oh, I love them, to cook dolmas! However I buy them in cans, cause I don’t have any I could trust. I don’t think it’s easy to find here in Finland.

  6. I love reading about your foraging! It looks so beautiful. There was just a documentary in Sweden about cultivated grapes and all the pesticides used and most of my Swedish friends have now stopped eating them. I have never thought of foraging for them but will keep my eyes open from now on!

    • I also have heard that commercial grapes are among the most toxic to eat. Wild grapes will never completely replace them for sweetness, but there are so many good ways to use them. I hope you find some.

  7. wild grape leaves? cool as you like! we have to buy them in jars… i would love to find some! none around these parts though…

  8. I’m on this – have got wild grape vines all round the place. I’m learning so much from your blog!

  9. Thanks. I would be interested in any recipes you come up with too. I think they are a very untapped source.

  10. Great idea, Hilda! There’s much wild grape to be found in Berlin, too, although I’m not sure how it is treated and if it’s eatable (are there sorts that are not meant for consumption, by the way?). I guess I will be brave and give some a try :-).

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m pretty sure grape leaves are grape leaves – no big difference, just a few things that might resemble them you want to be careful of. As for treatment, there should be places which are free from treatment – if the grapes can be eaten, I would think the leaves would too.

      • That sounds encouranging, Hilda, thanks for the advice. I will keep eyes open, and maybe the farming community where a friend of mine has a little garden will have some wild grape leaves in the area as well. I’m very curious now to give it a try :-).

  11. Pingback: Menispermum Canadense | Find Me A Cure

  12. Pingback: Dolmas with Rice and Meat | Along the Grapevine

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