The original pickled grape leaf is the lactofermented one. These will make the best stuffed grape leaves.
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: Fermentation, Wild Grapes
1 qt mason jar, a small clean stone
Fresh grape leaves, as neededlarge, clean leaves without bug holes and damage
1Tablespoon Pickling salt you can sub kosher salt, sea salt, or another salt you like, preferably ground fine for easy dissolving. Use 1 Tablespoon salt per wide mouth quart jar.
Filtered Wateras nneded
When harvesting the grape leaves, be mindful to remove them at the stem so all you have is leaf. Choose clean grape leaves without any foreign matter on them (bird poo, insect eggs, spider webs, etc).
Make a stack of grape leaves in your palm until it gets large, then fold them firmly into a roll or packet and stuff them into a quart jar.
Repeat this process, stuffing the jar full until the jar is 3/4 full. Put a clean stone on top to hold the leaves in place, then cover completely with water.
Make the brine
Pour out the water, mix with the salt to dissolve, then pour back in the jar. (You can also just pour the salt into the jar and shake it, but it takes longer to dissolve.)
For a more exact ferment using a scale, see note below.
2 Week Fermentation
Put the jar(s) on a cookie sheet or other small tray to catch any brine that may migrate out and allow to ferment at room temperature.
Open the jar occasionally to allow carbon dioxide to escape.
Ferment the leaves for 1-2 weeks, depending on your taste. Store the jars in a place out of direct sun with a stable temperature, such as a pantry.
Finished fermented grape leaves can be stored, always underneath their liquid, in their jar at room temperature, or they can be water bath canned and stored in a pantry. You can also keep them in the refrigerator where they will last near indefinitely, and don't run the risk of developing pesky kahm yeast.
Cooking with your leaves
Your home-fermented grape leaves will be less salty and tart than commercial grape leaves stored in vinegar brine. But, if you want, you can rinse them before using them to make grape leaf rolls, etc.
Use Filtered or Boiled Water Do not use tap water, which can be chlorinated and can kill your ferment. If you must use unfiltered water, bring it to a boil to remove chlorine, then cool to room temperature before proceeding.Measuring your salt to 3%For a more exact ferment, weigh the empty jar, write down the weight, then weigh the jar full of grape eaves and water in grams. Subtract the weight of the empty jar, multiply the weight by .03, and add that many grams of fine salt. Shake the jar to distribute the salt a few times, then allow to sit out and ferment until sour to your liking.Storing at room temperature If you don't water bath-can the leaves, you can develop kahm yeast. To prevent kahm yeast, you can bring the liquid to a boil after fermenting, then pour it into the jar, screw on the lid and turn it upside down until cool. The jars should seal and will be shelf stable just like water bath-canned jars.