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Grape leaves are medium to large in size and are cordate, or heart-shaped. Grape leaves grow on climbing vines that can reach over seventeen meters in height. The vines use forking tendrils, which are tiny branches that twist around other plants and objects to climb. Grape leaves are tender and have a light citrusy, green, and tangy taste.
Grape leaves can be used raw in salads or in cooked applications such as steaming and boiling. They are most commonly stuffed with seasonal and regional vegetables, rice, and meats and are cooked into a soft texture. They can also be adorned with traditional sauces made from cheeses, citrus, cream, olive oil, vinegar. Fresh grape leaves are recommended to be blanched in hot water or a brine solution of salt and water to create an edible and flexible product. In addition to fresh leaves, Grape leaves can also be found in the store already canned and preserved. Grape leaves pair well with bulgar, pine nuts, yogurt, herbs such as mint, dill, and parsley, aromatics such as fennel, onions, and garlic, meats such as minced lamb, beef, lemon, and eggplant.
They will keep for a couple of days when stored fresh in the refrigerator and up to six months when wrapped in plastic and stored in an airtight container or plastic bag in the freezer.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
0.68 kilograms ground beef
1 onion (chopped, about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp. cumin
15 grams parsley (chopped)
59 ml mint (chopped)
2 tsp. lemon zest
185 grams basmati rice (cooked)
1.42 liters chicken stock
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper