« Read other entries… »
Grape leaves in Guatemala
Warning, grape leaf picking season is almost over. The last few days my wife, daughter-law-, grandchildren, one of their cousins and I picked about 700 grape leaves from the backyard, local park and a bike trail. I hope to get a few hundred more while they are still fresh and right size.
Now grape leaves, for those who do not know, are used to make the Middle Eastern dish of stuffed Grape Leaves. It is a favorite of the Graf clan in Iowa, Colorado, Washington State and Texas. My mother prepared them for our family and taught my full blooded Italian wife how to make them who taught me and other relatives how and who wrote the recipe for this web page.
I have found Grape leaves, leaves from vines without grapes, in every country I have visited, including India and Guatemala. One of my earliest childhood memories is picking grape leaves in a park just like I did today.
Around here the best time of the year to pick grape leaves is June. The vines you pick in June will generate new grape leaves that might be good later in the summer.
In the middle of July 1999 I was make a silent religious retreat at a place that had a lot of grape leaves along a road around the lake. It was not long after the death of my young sister. She used to argue with my mother about picking grape leaves off of vines or with grapes or no grapes as my mother insisted. Here are some reflections I wrote at the time.
Grapes or no grapes on the vine? Does it matter?
Pick the leaves early in the season or do more time.
The more you pick the more you get.
Holey leaves are not good.
Do not forget about the lowly.
Picking grape leaves makes for good food, good exercise, good cooking and good reflections on life