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Old 07-22-2018, 05:49 AM   #1
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Another Pickle Question

I have read, and done ( as my father as ) in the past that adding a grape leaf to the pickles ( while pickling) will potentially lead to a crisper pickled. ( I read the same about oak leaves as well).

My grape vine is not with us anymore, so hear is my question:

Can I used a grape leaf from the jar of preserved grape leaves I have sitting in the fridge ( waiting for me to stuff them), or does it have to be a fresh grape leaf? In other words, will an already preserved grape leaf had the same effects on the crisping process ?

I know the jarred grape leaves are a little briney, but im not worried about the any affects in the taste, im more curious about the potential crisping process.

Thanks

( As a note,I already have a few batches in the works and used the jarred grape leaves, so this is kind an after thought question)

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Old 07-22-2018, 08:51 AM   #2
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I don't think the grape leaves will be so very different if canned in a brine than fresh, but I don't use them now, for that purpose.



https://learningstore.uwex.edu/Assets/pdfs/B2267.pdf
Quote:
Grape leaves
Grape leaves have historically been used in fermented pickles.
People found that if they placed grape leaves in the crock or brine during fermentation ,cucumbers were less likely to soften .
Researchers later discovered that grape leaves contain varying
amount s of a natural inhibitor that reduces the effect of a softening enzyme found on moldy cucumber blossoms.
If you remove the blossom end before soaking cucumbers
in brine, you do not need to use grape leaves as a firming agent. Gently wash cucumbers and then trim a thin slice 1/16 inch) from the blossom end and discard.
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Old 07-22-2018, 09:14 AM   #3
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Ive found ( at least for me), its most dependent on size and shape of the kirbie used. I find when I use the ones that are a little younger, smaller and skinner ( dont have that bloated center) and therefore, less seedy, seem to have a bette crunch to them. The bigger, more seedy, plumber ones aren't as crispy.

My dad has always doe the grape leaf thing, so Im doing more out of nostalgia than any thing else. But last year, I had to rip up the grapes in order to expand the garden. Now my only access to grape leaves are the jarred variety ( unless I feel like sneaking into the vineyards out east , and plucking a few. Not sure that would go over that well though.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 07-22-2018, 09:20 AM   #4
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Wild grape vines are everywhere. I don't have grape vines but within a 3 minute walk in any direction, on the country roads/fences, between farms, there are wild grape vines. We hike at the state forest hiking trails and there are thousands of them--and it isn't something I ever noticed until I started using grape leaves for dolmades. Take a look around, you might find them hiding in plain sight.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:52 AM   #5
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The reason that grape (or oak) leaves are used is because those leaves contain tannins - the same chemical compounds that causes red wine and black tea to be astringent.

Black tea leaves are a good substitute when you don't have grape leaves.

I actually go right to the source and buy powdered grape tannin. It's like $2 for a small bottle at any home brew shop. It causes a little haziness to the pickle juice at first (it settles out over time), but doesn't affect the flavor at all.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:56 AM   #6
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Same as cherry leaves, same as black currant leaves, same as horseradish leaves.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:59 AM   #7
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Speaking of slicing end of a cucumber. If that the case, how come I have never seen commercially made pickles with slice ends?
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
Speaking of slicing end of a cucumber. If that the case, how come I have never seen commercially made pickles with slice ends?

The university extension offices that publish instructions, process, and recipes are for home canning, not commercial canning. I'd hazard a guess that commercial processors have a different method, washing the blossom end and treating with a chemical that renders the mold on the blossom end dead.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:45 PM   #9
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My mom and dad used to make 15-20 gallon jars of mixed pickles every Fall. They always put grape leaves or a handful of parsley at the top of the jar. Pickles were always crisp.
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
The university extension offices that publish instructions, process, and recipes are for home canning, not commercial canning. I'd hazard a guess that commercial processors have a different method, washing the blossom end and treating with a chemical that renders the mold on the blossom end dead.
It's not mold that affects the crispness. It's an enzyme - a natural part of the plant. They probably add the same chemical that's in the leaves to inactivate the enzyme, in a known quantity, so they get the same results every time.
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