Vine leaves are an excellent recipe for appetizers and wine flavors. They are rich in history and can be one of the most expensive leaves in the market. However, before they reach the kitchen or the market, they have to be prepared carefully. You can’t make any mistakes with these precious leaves.
Here is a guide on how you should prepare vine leaves right from the farm until they reach your home.
The picking time
The best time to pick vine leaves is between May and June. These months fall in the late Spring and early Summer. At this time, the leaves will be soft and tender. They are best picked in the morning when the vines are not visible and the evening when they are dry.
How to pick
You need to pick the leaves carefully without destroying them. You can either hand-pick them or use a pair of scissors.
The best leaves to collect
Don’t harvest the ones with holes as you will not be able to use them for stuffing. Experience vine farmers know how to differentiate the varieties for making different wine products. The sultanas and the traditional black are usually the most flavorful. Ensure you pick the medium sizes and go for the tender and light green ones. It is easy to feel the rough textures or mature ones.
Avoid picking the sprayed leaves as this can interfere with the flavor. If you have experience picking leaves, you should know how to differentiate ones that already have pesticides. Some pesticides can be toxic or interfere with the natural flavor of the vine leaves.
Harvesting vine leaves is not hard as long as you understand the basics. You should also understand how to preserve the already harvested leaves. If you do everything right, there is nothing that will stop you from enjoying the rich flavors in your favorite recipe.