How to prepare grape leaves for dolma?

In many world cuisines, the filling is wrapped in plant leaves. For dolma, which is a kind of stuffed cabbage, grape foliage is most often used. This dish is common in the southern regions, where grape bushes are traditionally grown in every household plot. In addition to fresh preparation, dolma leaves are not difficult to preserve for the winter. Consider how to do this in more detail.

How to choose and prepare grape leaves for dolma

For proper harvesting, you need to know when to harvest and where it is better to take grape leaves. For dolma, it is preferable to use white grapes. Their plate has a not so rugged edge as the red varieties, and therefore it is easier to wrap the stuffing in it. Collect foliage during flowering of the bush, in late spring or early summer. Gentle leaf plates from fifth to seventh are best suited if you start counting from the top of the vine. The average size roughly corresponds to the size of the palm: so wrapping the filling will be most convenient.

Cut the leaves before spraying the grapes with chemicals. During the summer, pruning can also be carried out, making sure that after processing the plants with fungicides and insecticides, the period specified in the instructions for the drug passes.

Important! Do not use products from bushes located along highways! As with any workpiece, the quality of the feedstock plays a crucial role, so it is important to understand which leaves can be used for cooking. They should be uniform green, without yellowing, spots and traces of pest damage. Before harvesting, it is necessary to wash and dry, as well as cut the petiole.

How to prepare grape leaves for dolma for the winter

There are several ways to prepare the product for the winter, the simplest of which is freezing. But the pickled shell has an additional original flavor. Consider all possible methods for harvesting grape leaves.


Prepared leaves for freezing must be completely dry. Then do this:

  1. 10-15 leaves are folded and folded into a tight roll.

  2. The roll is wrapped in cling film.

  3. Rolls are placed in a plastic box, because after freezing the product will be brittle.

To cook dolma, the workpiece will need to be thawed at room temperature or doused with boiling water.

Important! The number of leaves in one roll should correspond to the amount of dolma, which is usually prepared at a time.

Bottled storage

This is an original way to keep leaves fresh for a long time. For him, you need to prepare empty plastic bottles. The further procedure is as follows:

  1. Pour a teaspoon of salt and soda into each bottle, add a little water and shake thoroughly so that the mixture envelops the entire inner surface. Then the bottle is rinsed with clean water and dried.
  2. Small stacks of leaves (3-5 pcs.) Are rolled up into tubes and placed very tightly in a bottle, gently ramming them with a stick. The bottle must be full. Sometimes at this point a little salt is added.
  3. Press the bottle to release all the air and securely close the lid.
Such a container is stored in a dark, cool place for up to 2 years. For cooking, you need to cut the bottle, remove the leaves and pour cold water. Sometimes a yellowish coating may appear on the surface, which is not a sign of damage.

Did you know? In some regions, fig and quince leaves are used to make dolma.


For preservation, it is necessary to properly prepare glass jars and lids. Sterilization of dishes can be done in a pot of boiling water, in a double boiler or slow cooker, in a microwave or oven. Each jar should be treated with hot steam for 20–25 minutes.

With this method, the cuttings can not be cut, for them it will be convenient to pull the workpiece from the can. With prepared leaves, they do this:

  1. Leaves are rolled up and tightly packed in jars, which are then filled with boiling water for 10 minutes. After the water is drained and the jar is again poured with boiling water.
  2. 1 liter of water is added to 1 tbsp. l salt and sugar. The mixture is brought to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  3. The water from the cans is drained and filled with boiling solution.
  4. The jar is rolled up and gradually cooled.
Keep such a blank in a cool and dark place.

Learn how to dry and how to store grapes at home.


Marinating containers are treated in the same way as for canning. Then they do this:

  1. 4–5 peas of pepper, 1–2 buds of dried cloves, 1–2 bay leaves are laid on the bottom of the jar.
  2. Coiled leaves are tightly placed over the spices and poured with the same solution as for preservation, with the addition of 2 tbsp. l 9% vinegar.
  3. The jar is closed and stored in a cool place for up to three months, and dolma can be prepared from such a workpiece in a few days.


The salt preparation consists in placing the product in a solution of sodium chloride. To pickle vine leaves, do this:

  1. Roll up rolls tightly placed in a clean container and pour boiling water. After 10 minutes, the water is drained.
  2. Saline solution is prepared on the basis of the proportion: 20 g of salt per 1 liter of water. The required amount of salt is added to the drained water, the solution is brought to a boil and poured into a jar.
  3. The container is tightly closed with a lid, cooled and stored in the refrigerator.

Dry Storage

For this method, brine filling is not used, however, the container must first be sterilized. The sequence of further preparation of the workpiece is as follows:

  1. At the bottom of the cans, 10-12 leaves are laid, crushed and lightly sprinkled with salt.
  2. The next layer is densely tamped and salted again.
  3. The filled jar is sterilized for 10-15 minutes in the oven or for a couple, and then close the lid with a special key.

Dolma Cooking Tips

Cooking dolma in different countries has certain differences.

Did you know? The word "dolma" is of Turkic origin from the verb "dolmak", which means "fill". Turkish and Greek, as well as Armenian and Azerbaijani cuisines fight for the authorship of the dish. Here are some nuances of recipes that allow you to get an original tasty dish in your home kitchen:

  1. In the East, minced meat for the filling is prepared from lamb and a large amount of greens. Other cuisines use beef or pork, as well as mixed minced meat.
  2. The ingredients for the filling should stand for several hours, so that the tastes of the products mix and the salt dissolves.
  3. The filling can be wrapped with an envelope or tube.
  4. If the folded dolma unfolds and does not hold the shape, it can be fixed with a thread or a toothpick.
  5. Vegetarian dolma fillings may include beans, lentils or peas, as well as fried onions with carrots.

Learn how to make grape juice at home.

Video: Dolma Recipe

You can cook delicious dolma not only in the summer, but also in the middle of winter. You can save grape leaves quickly and reliably, using one of the methods proposed above.

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