Pickled Grape Leaves
Stuffed grape leaves are an exotic treat, but if you have a grapevine (even a wild one in your hedgerow), you can make your own grape leaf wrappers virtually for free.
30–40 young grape leaves about the size of your hand*
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
*They will be most tender in the late spring when they have just come up to size or from a shoot that is rapidly growing later in the season.
1. Bring a quart of water to a boil in a small pot and add the salt. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, trim the grape leaf stems close to the leaves without tearing them and rinse the leaves if needed.
3. Dunk the grape leaves in the boiling water for 30 seconds, lift them out with a slotted spoon, and immediately submerge them in the cold water.
4. Take about six leaves at a time, make a stack, and roll up the stack edge-to-edge like a cigar. Stand it in a clean jar (a wide-mouth pint jar is good). Repeat for all leaves.
Combine 1 cup of water with the lemon juice, bring it to a boil, and pour it over the leaves, adding water as needed to cover the leaves. Cover the jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.
For the best flavor, eat these after a week, but if you want to store them for later, drain the rolls, freeze them, and store them in a tightly closed container in the freezer for up to a year.
Grapeleaves image: (cc) Wickenden/Flickr