CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - The Western Mass Master Gardener Association shared some gardening tips and tricks as well as a delicious recipe for stuffed grape leaves.
To learn more give them a call at (413) 298-5355 or visit WMMGA.org .
Stuffed Grape Leaves
- 1 bunch parsley, washed well, chop leaves finely, save all stems
- 1 cup long grain rice for recipe with meat, 2 cups for vegetarian
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned,
- 2 scallions, chopped finely
- Fresh herbs, oregano, basil, (optional: dill, or any you prefer)
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef, turkey or lamb, your option
- Mix all ingredients, set aside.
- Be Sure to use wild grape leaves, (tender) about 30, about 50 for mixture with meat, about 5" in width or larger, wash well, then par boil for 1 or 2 minutes, let cool.
- Back side up and stem cut close to leaf, put about 1 very full tbsp. of mixture into center of grape leave, then wrap up burrito style, nice and tight!
- Prepare heavy bottom pan or casserole pan by layering parsley stems in bottom of pot with 2 additional tbsp. olive oil.
- Tightly layer stuffed grape leaves in a row, fill in pot until there are no empty spaces, layer on top of each other until done.
- Cover with an inverted plate that fits inside pot (to hold down stuffed grape leaves so they don't come apart while cooking).
- Add 3 cups water, beef broth, vegetable broth or any broth you desire.
- Bring to a very low boil, or bake in 350 oven for about 3 hours or until liquid is soaked up.
- Let stuffed grape leaves rest for 30 min. or so, take out very gently and serve with lemon wedges, tzatziki sauce, sour cream, or whatever you prefer, hot or cold.
Tips for preparing grape leaves:
- Pick wild grape leaves only. (Grape leaves from grape bearing vines are tough)
- Wash grape leaves well, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, put into cold water to cool.
- When ready to stuff:
- Place leaves vein side up on your counter about an inch apart, place about 1 tsp. of mixture in center of grape leaves.
- Roll by having wide side down, fold over sides to touch, then start to roll from wider part of leaf up until firmly rolled.
- Leaves should be about 5 to 6 inches across, try to cut all leaves to be uniform in size.
About the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association:
The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational mission of promoting good and sustainable gardening practices. We are volunteers who have graduated from an academic training class and have completed service hours working with the public to advance our mission.
Individuals who complete this training and service are then certified as Master Gardeners. Although members participate in activities throughout Western Massachusetts, the organization is divided into three sub-regions: Berkshire County, Upper Valley, and Lower Valley which organize activities and volunteer efforts in their respective regions.
Master Gardener programs exist throughout the nation and are typically associated with a state university. Our program originated at the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Massachusetts. In 1989 due to funding limitations, the program was discontinued at UMass. We have been operating independently since then thanks to a very dedicated group of program graduates. Our ranks continue to grow.