Grape Leaves Packed with Vitamins C, E, A, K & B6
It's the time of year when the grapes go bonkers growing.
In this video I talk to you about why I have to prune them.
We use our grape vines as natural sun umbrellas--they keep the sun off us when we're sitting outside, but they also keep the sun off the kitchen herb gardens below.
The answer is a good, judicious and regular pruning.
But what to do with those leaves? I've been drying them and putting them in my winter greens mix for a long time. They're also young and lush and beautiful, so I can't stand wasting them. There's far too many leaves for just my greens mix, so I did some more investigation and found out some amazing things about grape leaves.
Are grape leaves edible?
The answer is a resounding, 'yes'.
We all know that the fruit of the vine is edible, but how many people think about eating the leaves?
You can find grape leaves in the international department of your local food store. They're used in many countries to wrap rice and beans and then baked. I've also seen them described as "Turkish tortilla" so we might have a go at wrapping our chilli beans in them soon!
To date, I've not gotten that complicated with them, I've started picking the small green leaves and chopping them fresh into our summer salads.
I have been drying and using the leaves in my winter greens mix for a long time now.
I also have large bags of dried grape leaves in my home apothecary because I've begun incorporating grape leaves into my rotation of daily herbal nutritional infusions.
What do grape leaves do for you?
Grape leaves are full of vitamins C, B, K, A and B6. They also contain iron, riboflavin, niacin, copper, folate, manganese, calcium and a good dose of fibre. They're a great addition (as I said) to summer salad greens and the dried leaves go well in most soups and stews.
When do you harvest grape leaves?
Spring and early summer are the best times to harvest grape leaves, when the vines are putting out constant new growth--hence the pruning video!
Avoid the old, hairy leaves and pick the smooth new green growth.
You can dry the leaves or they will freeze for up to six months. I haven't personally tried this, but if you have, let us know how it went for you. Like most of the greens that I do freeze, I'd suggest blanching them first in hot water.
Medicinal uses for grape leaves
Scott Sexton in his article for The Grow Network says: The leaves are astringent, anti-inflammatory, and help with asthma and allergies by reducing histamine production. Leaf tea has traditionally been used for diarrhoea, stomachache, thrush, hepatitis, and uterine bleeding. Leaves have also been used as a poultice for rheumatism, headaches, fevers, and blisters on the feet.
To a large extent, I've been able to wean myself off my antihistamines this summer and I think a large part of that has to do with the nettle and grape leaves I'm using in my daily nutritional infusions.
So there you have it. The fruit of the vine always gets the glory, but there's a lot to be said for finding ways to use the rest of the vine.
Mother natures wastes nothing and I'm trying to live the same way.
Love & lettuce,