Armen Chakmakjian

An ancient ritual…sort of…

In Random on July 8, 2009 at 4:30 am

So we’ve been picking grape leaves off the grapeless grape vine that my father gave me shoots of many years ago.   The leaves that come off of this vine, as opposed to your standard concord grape vine, are really really tender.  Great for making dolma and yalanchi.  Those are the hot and cold versions respectively of stuffed grape leaves

Anyway so I had all these leaves that we’ve picked for the last week or two.  The thing to do is to pick them when they are about hand sized, which assures tenderness.  If they get any bigger, they will be just too big and chewy.

Once you pick them, wash them off in cold water.  If you can’t get to the boiling part yet wrap them in a paper towel and then put them in a bag in the fridge till you are ready.

When you are ready to boil to store them for later use, the easiest thing to do is to grab them in bunches of 10 and put them in the boiling water for half a minute or so, then flip the whole bunch and put the bunch on a dish.

the stems are a good way of sorting through this in bunches of 10.  as you pull the bunches of leaves from the water rotate around the plate so that you can lift them up again by the bunch of stems.

Now once you have boiled the leaves (maybe the correct word is blanche) you get some clear plastic wrap and roll up the leaves into the wrap.  When I say roll, just roll it up.

Now just take the rolled up leaves and put them in a bag like this, date the bunch and freeze them.  When you are ready to use them just pull out the number of leaves you need (they’re rolled in bunches of 10, so counting is easy) and let them thaw in the fridge.  When preparing the dolma the thawed leaves are ready to use…just cut the stems.  I’m not going to give you a stuffing recipe, that’s an area which I do not broach in the home.  I’ll roll dolma as long as someone else makes the stuffing.

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