Questions & Answers - Using Fresh Grape Leaves
I love your site and information. I live in the Clearwater/Tampa Florida area and want to find a place to buy Fresh OR Frozen GRAPE LEAVES. I'm sue that you know the difference between the taste and texture of the bottles type. Any suggestions?
Using Fresh Whole Grape Leaves:
Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the late Spring and early Summer (May and June), while they are still tender and unsprayed. Also try to pick the grape leaves early in the day. During this time period, no grapes are visible on the grape vines.
Be sure and pick them before the first spray as some sprays are toxic. Most of the spays used today are non-toxic and water soluble, but sulfur taste is not what you want on your grapes.
Select young whole, medium-size leaves (4- to 5-inches wide) with a good light green color and no holes (too small grape leaves will tear when using and too large grape leave are tough and chewy). They should also be shiny, smooth leaves. Avoid fuzzy thick leaves.
The best leaves are those below the new growth at the top of the grape plant. Rule of thumb - count down three (3) leaves from the new growth at the end of the vine, and pick the next 2 to 3 leaves, then move on to the next stem. The grape leaves thicken and toughen as the sun ages them.
Pick approximately 1 1/2 pounds of fresh leaves. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of small fresh leaves = approximately 100 to 120 leaves.
Thoroughly rinse the grapes leaves in cold water and then drain.
Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut off the stems.
To Use: Use as soon as you
thaw them as they don't keep too well after freezing. Frozen grape
leaves only last about 6 months in the freezer.