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Stuffed Grape Leaves

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I'd like to make a batch of stufffed grape leaves, but I know that the jar of leaves I have is going to make way more than the two of us will be able to eat (even over the course of a few days). Can they be frozen without losing too much quality?

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Freeze them! I've frozen them very successfully. Let thaw completely in the fridge before eating cold or reheating.

P.S.: You can also use grape leaves for other things, such as wrapping a whole fish before grilling, wrapping individual shrimp before grilling (add garlic to the packets and skewer), or wrapping soft goat cheese as an appetizer.

These are still probably more grape leaves than two people would want to eat in a few days, so throw a party!


Edited by SuzySushi (log)

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I wasn't sure if they'd freeze ok or not, reason being that the Lebanese woman who ran my favorite restaurant until recently (rest her soul), told me that she wouldn't recommend it because they'd lose too much in texture. Maybe she just wanted to make sure I'd come back...which isn't a possibility any more :sad: .

Thanks for the info. I'll try it -- and probably throw a Grapeleaf party too!

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It depends what you gonna do with it.

If for stuffing. Then it does not work.

If for wrapping, then it could do the trick.

In case you have to freeze, then do the old blanching briefly and throw in ice water. Spin dry and vacuum pack freeze.

After second thoughts, where is the nearest restaurant?

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Ooops... in rereading the original question, I misunderstood. It's the stuffed and cooked grape leaves that freeze beautifully.

I've never tried freezing just the leftover grape leaves in brine. I would imagine that because they were packed in brine, which acts as a preservative, you could keep them in the fridge without a problem for at least a week, maybe longer.

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Stuffed, rolled grape leaves will freeze very well. Our family makes these for many holidays and we always make them ahead of time and freeze them on a cookie sheet after which they are stored in plastic freezer bags until ready to use. The rice and meat filling is left raw. We mostly use fresh mulberry leaves that have been blanched but in a pinch have used jarred grape leaves. After cooking I don't think they would hold up as well after being frozen but freezing works very well for the uncooked product.

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we roll them, a few hundred at at time and freeze them. Make sure tho if you are buying grapeleaves in a jar, you rinse them well of the brine. It can be salty and sometimes will give the leaves a bitter taste. We always pick them fresh and roll them. :smile:

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Bumping up.....

 

Never having made stuffed vine leaves / domades / dolmadakia, I've read a variety of recipes on line and many have very different methods for treating the leaves and cooking the rice filling. I pretty much know what ingredients I wish to use, and I want them to be vegetarian, but I am looking for suggestions or recommendations on technique.

 

1) Leaf prep. This time of year we are talking about jarred leaves, and that's what I've got. Some recipes call for rinsing, some call for soaking, and some call for blanching. What do you do to prep jarred grape leaves? Is it about decreasing the brine or about making them more tender?

 

2) Rice prep.  Many recipes call for a surprising amount of oil to cook the onions and rice before adding water or broth. Most stuffed vine leaves that I have eaten do have a pronounced olive oil taste, but why on earth would you use one cup of oil to 1 cup of rice?  I will not be using onions. My rice is long grain basmati.

       The ratio of rice to water or broth seems to vary wildly, as does cooking time. Most recipes suggest half-cooking the rice, since the rolls get steamed for at least 30 minutes after filling, but many use ratios such as 1 rice/ 2 water, which to me means the rice will be fully cooked when the liquid is absorbed, so that doesn't seem right. How cooked should the rice be? I don't want soft gummy rice in the end result.

 

3) Herbs and spices. Some recipes suggest adding fresh herbs like dill and mint when cooking the rice. Others prefer to mix them in after the rice is cooked, assuming the flavors will have plenty of time to develop while steaming. What do you do?

 

4) Use of lemon juice. Some recipes add lemon juice to the rice cooking liquid, others don't. Some add the juice to the water used to steam the dolmades. What? Some add oil to the steaming process. Again, what works for you?

 

Thanks! This does not seem like something terribly complicated, but the differences in techniques used are amazing to me. Are the differences geographic or just personal style? Is there a Turkish style and a Greek style?

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Being quite the connoisseur of dolma, let me preface by saying I've never made them (just eaten them at every opportunity and seen them being made), but I can answer some of your questions.

 

-Tender grape leaves for the win every time

 

-The rice should be cooked enough that when the dolma/waraq 'enab/stuffed grape leaves are refrigerated and served cold, the rice is soft and not crunchy. I encounter that a lot.

 

-Herbs and spices after the rice is cooked

 

-I can't imagine lemon should be added to the rice cooking water, but I do like very lemony dolma

 

-Recipes vary a lot, though I don't know if one can generalize by region. That said, sometimes in the Arab world they're soured with pomegranate molasses, and these are my favorite.

 

 

 

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