Amaranth, lambs quarters and purslane abound this time of year! Take a walk and look around: they’re even coming up through the concrete sidewalks! These plants are strong and when you eat them you take in all that strength and resilience. (”You are what you eat” after all!) More than just the tremendous amounts of vitamins and minerals these plants have, they have an energy about them, and that energy is imparted to you! These are the freshest, most local, hardy veggies you will find. Enjoy!
This week’s share:
- wild grape leaves *NEW
- wild apples *NEW
- lambs quarters
- amaranth greens
- wood sorrel (*New-ish…it was in your greens mix in week 9.)
We have included wild grape leaves this week! There are actually two kinds of grape leaf in your share this week: our planted ones (which are white on the back) and wild ones. We wanted to give you both so you could sample each.
pan fried stuffed wild grape leaves (recipe below)
Grape leaves are delicious…you may know them from eating stuffed grape leaves you find in Mediterranean markets and restaurants. I have made them before and I love them. You can look up recipes online…some are very simple, stuffing with rice, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and some have more elaborate stuffing. Here is an easy to follow recipe for delicious vegetarian dolmas (stuffed grape leaves.)
If you plan to boil the grape leaves after stuffing, you actually do not need to cook the rice first. The rice will cook as you boil the grape leaves. Just add uncooked rice as you saute onions, mint, salt, pepper, pine nuts and lemon juice. Then stuff and roll the grape leaves. Place them in a pan or pot and cover with water plus another inch. Then put a heat proof lid on top of the grape leaves and weight it down with a clean rock so they don’t float around and open up as they cook. Cook 45 minutes to an hour.
To avoid having to do that, stuff with cooked rice which is sauteed with onions, mint, salt, pepper, etc. Then you can either pan fry or lightly steam the grape leaves instead of needing to cook them for so long.
Here is a site I found last night that has a lot to say about grape leaves, and gives a recipe for stuffing and a how to on making the grape leaves. She also tells you how to brine them if you don’t want to use them right away.
To brine: store them in very salty water (brine) and put them away for later use. The website I mentioned recommends at least 4 Tbsp salt per quart of water.
Pan Fried Stuffed Grape Leaves
Boil the grape leaves until soft (about 5 minutes).
I let them cool in the water, then I removed them and cut off the stems.
I recommend cooked brown rice, onions, pine nuts, mint, salt and pepper - saute in olive oil and add lots of lemon juice when done.
What I used (because I had no onions or pine nuts): cooked brown rice, jalepeno pepper (chopped), chives (cut into small pieces), mint (chopped), salt - sauteed in olive oil and then I added lots of lemon juice.
* salt, olive oil and lemon juice seem to be the key to yummy grape leaves! *
** if you are going to boil the stuffed grape leaves instead of sauteing, you do not have to cook the rice first. Stuff and roll grape leave and place in pot, cover with water plus an inch, place something on top of the grape leaves (like an overturned heat-resistant lid weighted down with a clean rock) and gently boil/simmer for 45 minutes.
Here is how to stuff/roll grape leaves:
boil grape leaves. The planted ones are on bottom and turned olive green right away. The wild grape leaves on top stayed a more vibrant green.
Lay the grape leaf out top down (underside with veins up):
Add a little filling to bottom of leaf:
Fold bottom up, then sides in:
Continue until all grape leaves are stuffed, seam down:
Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, then flip to saute other side.
Drizzle with extra lemon juice and ENJOY!!!
Other ways to use grape leaves:
- try them and see if you like them! You may want to use them (raw or cooked) as wraps for all kinds of food
- saute them into dishes
- chop and add to soup
- when pickling other things like cucumbers - especially if fermenting/pickling the cukes raw in salt water - adding grape leaves on top will keep the cukes/pickles crunchier.
Have you seen the book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Katz? I love this book! A great way to use some of these greens is to add them to ferments like sauerkraut, or perhaps even pickle as is. I think pickled purslane would be awesome. I will try some and get back to you. When I make pickles I do it the raw way…I will fill a jar with some wide stemmed large leaved purslane, put some garlic cloves in and maybe some dill seeds, fill the jar with water and add lots of salt (4 Tbsp per quart of water.) Add a grape leaf or two to keep the veggies nice and crunchy.
Yes, the have some blemishes. But they are delicious! Cut off the messy parts and cut the apple first (looking for worms.) Discard wormy areas if any and enjoy! If you want you can juice them or cook them into apple sauce.
I have been adding lambs quarters and amaranth greens to all sorts of dishes: lasagna, stir fry rice, stuffing (for zucchini), soup. I also enjoy lambs quarters as a fresh green on a sandwich. They both are great tossed in salads.
The wood sorrel is sort of new…you had it briefly in a salad mix back in week 9. This is a delicious and very sour green. It’s fun to eat by itself or add to salads. It’s best raw because it’s so zesty! Cooked is ok too, but it loses some flavor (and turns from a bright green to a sort of dull olive green.)
One word of warning: wood sorrel, lambs quarters and amaranth greens all contain oxalic acid, which is not good for people with or prone to kidney stones (similar to spinach.) Please eat these greens in moderation if at all if you are someone who is prone to kidney stones.
If you haven’t tried the sumac lemonade yet, please do! It is so delicious and refreshing on these hot days! If you have tried it you know what I mean and I’m sure you appreciate getting the sumac in the share again.
Enjoy this week’s share!
wood sorrel leaf
Love and wood sorrel leaves,