Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dolmas with Wild Grape Leaves

The figs just started fruiting and as usual I was there to greet them!

A few days later on a successful bass outing I spied some wild grape vines and got thinking. 

Abalone with her bass (she chased it around the creek gnashing her teeth)
Here in northern California, wild grapes grow in such abundance that they will actually cover and kill large trees who cannot compete for vital sun to photosynthesize. As a result I am happy to use the grape vines for material, eat the fruit, and eat the leaves. 

Wild grapes beginning to out-compete some cottonwoods
I can assure you, the leaves of the wild grape are far from unappetizing...they are in fact delicious!
I gathered up a few making sure to select the tender new growth (late spring/early summer is the best time for tender leaves). I was also careful to only gather leaves about the size of my palm (much larger and they're too tough, much smaller and there is simply not enough).

Then after a few minutes blanching in boiling water, the leaves are allowed to cool and are filled with a delicious mix of rice, ground meat, olive oil, and spices.
One simply needs to roll them up like "cigars" and a Greek feast is in the works!

These dolmas were delicious! I will certainly return to the grape patch for more.
Well, the mulberry flush is over, but I tasted some of the first blackberries of the season yesterday. So get out there gathering, head out hunting, and always strive to keep the old ways alive!

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