the Arabic word meaning "something stuffed," dolmades [dohl-MAH-dehs]
are grape leaves, fruits or vegetables stuffed with a savory,
Varieties and Buying TipsGrape leaves are not usually commercially available fresh, but Greek and Middle Eastern markets will carry bottled or canned leaves packed in brine.
If you have a grapevine growing in your backyard, you can use your own leaves so long as they are unsprayed. The best time to harvest them is early to mid-summer.
Storage TipsRefrigerate grape leaves in their brine, in a nonmetal, airtight container. They will keep indefinitely.
Usage Tips• Brine-packed leaves should be rinsed before using to remove some of the salty flavor.
• Use extra care when removing leaves from bottles or jars—they tear easily.
• Fresh leaves should be steamed or blanched until softened and pliable.
• When stuffing, don't roll too tightly. Give your stuffing ingredients some room to cook and swell up.
• Stuffed grape leaves make a great party appetizer because they can be prepared up to one week ahead.
• Stuffed grape leaves may be served hot, at room temperature or cold. Top with a dollop of yogurt.
• Enhance the flavor of mushrooms by cooking them in a pot lined with grape leaves.
• When pickling cucumbers, add grape leaves to your brine to make your pickles crisp.
• Use grape leaves in salads or as decorations or garnishes.
Try one of our favorite grape leaf recipes:
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Vegetarian)
Grilled Goat Cheese in Fresh Grape Leaves