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Pickled Grape Leaves

August 13, 2009

My neighbour has a grape vine. Every year, about this time, I kindly ask her if I can pick some of them to pickle.

She says “yes.”

I found this recipe in Putting it up with Honey: a natural foods canning and preserving cookbook. I’ve found this to be a helpful resource in the summer; it’s full of jam, pickle, and condoment recipes galore. (FYI, not all the recipes call for honey–especially the pickles.)

The grape leaves pickled this way are not as tender as the ones I purchase at the store, but the texture is improved by cooking (which most dolmas/dolmades recipes call for.)

Pickled Grape Leaves

Yield: 4 pints

200 whole, medium sized grape leaves

4 t. salt

4 quarts water

2 C. lemon juice

Add salt to 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Add the grape leaves about 25 at a time and cook for 30 second. Drain. Form into loose rolls and pack vertically into paint jars. Add lemon juice to 2 quarts of fresh water. Bring to a boil. Pour over the grape leaves to within 1/2-inch from the tops of the jars. Complete seals and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Then, in the middle of winter, use your grape leaves in a recipe for dolmades (or dolmas) or


This recipe is adapted from a book called Food Glorious Greek Food: My Mother’s Cook Book which was published in 1986 by the Vancouver Times. Only a few used copies are available online; a friend gave me her copy when I lived in Vancouver.

  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) grape vine leaves
  • ½ C. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 C. long grain rice
  • 1 T. dried mint leaves
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • 2 ½ C. water

Mix together meat, rice, mint, salt, pepper and onion. Rinse and drain the grape leaves. Position the leaf with stem facing you and add 1 T. of the eat filling. Fold into a packet (kind of like how you would wrap a gift). The main point is to get the meat into the leaf so it doesn’t spill out too easily. This may take some experimentation depending on how big your grape leaves are. Place the rolls (or packets) into the bottom of a large skillet. Pack in layers with the seam down. Add the water. Place a heavy plate upside down on the rolls to prevent them from coming apart. Place a lid on the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 25-35 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Luginbill permalink
    August 14, 2009 5:52 pm

    Hi Joy, love your food blog! I am enjoying reading the recipes and hope to make some of them. I have an amazing crop of nice grape leaves this year, so might try pickling them. My next door neighbor is from Europe and makes Dolmas. We talked about using the leaves and now I know how to preserve them.
    Thanks, Mom L


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