Along the Grapevine

Fermented Wild Grape Leaves

12 Comments

I couldn’t let this season pass without giving a nod to my signature ingredient – wild grapes. Who knows if there will be any grape harvest with the serious drought we have been experiencing, but the leaves are as lush as ever and begging to be picked. You can read about how to identify them, where to find them and why you would want to here.

Always looking for new ideas, I decided this year to ferment them. Fermenting is arguably the most healthful way of prolonging their shelf life, provided they are stored properly. The flavour also gets a boost, – no disappointment there.DSC03139.JPG

The only consideration is they do need some acid added to them, so I decided to use a combination of fresh lemon juice and a little liquid from a previous ferment – in this case wild apples. For every two cups of water, I used a heaping tablespoon of salt, the juice of one half lemon and a tablespoon of liquid from fermented apples. If you don’t have any fermented liquid, just double the amount of lemon juice. After removing any trace of stem, I stacked the leaves in piles of five, rolled them like cigars, and placed them in a mason jar. I poured the brine over them to cover and allowed them to sit at room temperature for six days. It is important to keep the leaves completely submerged, so I used a porcelain egg cup, placed upside down on top as a weight. By the sixth day, shorter or longer depending on the room temperature, the bubbling will subside and the liquid will have a good, tart taste. At that point, put a lid on them and store in a dark, cool place. I do not recommend using a square jar like mine as round ones are safer – less likely to succumb to any pressure built up, but I intend to open mine every few days to be on the safe side and let any gas escape. Even in a cool dark place, fermentation will continue so the occasional ‘burping’ is recommended if storing over a long period.

Fermented Wild Grape Leaves on Punk Domestics

Like any pickle or fermented vegetable, they are a great addition to salads and dips. They could also be filled and rolled like dolmas, something I intend to try next. I used some as a base to a quinoa salad, made with garden herbs, cooked sweet potato and fresh red currants. DSC03164.JPGRelated posts: Grape Leaves with Roasted Vegetables;  Pickerel in Grape Leaves; Quiche in Grape Leaf Shells; Grape Leaf, Herb and Yogurt Pie; Vegetarian Dolmas; Dolmas with Meat and Rice

Author: Hilda

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

12 thoughts on “Fermented Wild Grape Leaves

  1. Interesting preservation method for grape leaves. They have a natural tannin which helps. I’ll be interested in those dolmades when you make them. In N Greece, they make dolmades with pickled (i.e. fermented) cabbage leaves.

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  2. That is a very interesting recipe! I love the look of it!🙂

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  3. Fantastic as usual, Hilda!

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  4. This is very intriguing recipe, Hilda. I imagined it would taste amazing with many things. If I ever get my hands on grape leaves, this will be THE recipe I come back to.🙂

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  5. This is such an awesome share Hilda. I have never seen a wild grape leaf before and your dish at the end looks so good🙂

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    • Thanks. Of course, grape leaves don’t have to be wild – the cultivated variety tend to be larger. But wild or cultivated, I understand they grow everywhere in the world, so your chances of finding some should be pretty good.

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  6. Your leaves looks absolutely delicious and especially with the salad🙂

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  7. Do you ever brew it afterwards?

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    • What an interesting idea? I am thinking of brewing other things, but if you have any suggestions as to what can be done with grape leaves, I would be interested to know about it.

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