Fresh grape leaves?
So I'm making kosher style dill pickles, and the recipe calls for a handful of fresh grape leaves as a source of tannin, in order to avoid having mushy pickles. I'm totally stymied as to where to get grape leaves, having already tried SLM, and a few other places. Anyone have a tip that doesn't involve raiding the gardens of my Italian neighbours? ;)
This was my first idea, so I asked a greek friend if she could point me in the right direction, but she said that she'd never seen then in fresh form - always in brine. I don't think that adding an additional brine into the equation would be good for my pickles. Do you know of any greek grocery stores that have fresh ones?
On a side note - I happened across a grape vine on a run earlier today, so I've got some to tide me over for a while, so now I'm more looking for a source once the leaves are down.
You can try ARZ bakery/grocery store near warden and lawrence, I've always seen them there.
I've used wild grape leaves in my dill pickles, picked from a park. This year I'm using oak leaves. These are even easier to find, usually as a city planted tree.
It really is worth the effort to add grape or oak leaves to your fermenting crock. In my experience, the pickles are crisper. I also trim off the blossom end of the cuke. Apparently it contains enzymes that speed ripening and contribute to mushy pickles.