Here's Why You Should Give Canned Dolmas A Quick Rinse Before Eating

Stuffed with rice and herbs or loaded with a spiced beef filling, dolmas are pretty parcels of flavor that pack a punch. However, blanching the vine leaves, assembling the filling, and rolling them into cylinders can be time-consuming. Luckily, canned dolmas are prepped to perfection, making them a super-convenient snack or hassle-free addition to a main meal. Nevertheless, these stuffed grape leaves can taste salty when canned in brine, which is why it's essential to rinse these little guys in water to remove their excess sodium for both flavor and health reasons.

Canned dolmas are packed in brine because the salt in the solution makes them tastier by improving their consistency and flavor. The problem is that consuming too much salt over the long term can cause high blood pressure, which can in turn lead to strokes and heart attacks.

Reducing the amount of salt you consume from convenience foods can mitigate these health risks and positively affect your well-being. Moreover, removing the brine from your canned dolmas reduces their brackish taste and allows the natural flavor of the rice or meat to come to the fore. This is a significant plus if you want to serve your dolmas over a sauce or with a dip that's already been salted.

How to remove the salt from dolmas

To prepare your dolmas, open the can as normal and drain off the brine into the sink. Then place your stuffed vine leaves in a colander or sieve before putting them under a cold running faucet. Rinse the dolmas with care to prevent them from unraveling or tearing.

The aim is to eliminate all that saltiness without causing the delicious fillings to escape. Once the brine has been removed, you can serve your dolmas cold on a mezze platter, reheat them in the microwave, or warm them in a covered dish in the oven. Want to stuff your own dolmas using jarred or packaged vine leaves? Rinse them before rinsing them gently in a bowl of cold water, so the extra salt can leach out.

Some varieties of canned dolmas are packed in oil instead of brine. In this case, you can drain most of the liquid from the can and skip the rinsing stage to retain some of the flavor from the extra virgin olive oil and aromatics, such as dill, mint, and garlic. You might even like to reserve the oil to drizzle over classic accompaniments to dolmas, such as a creamy tzatziki, a tahini dip, or a traditional Greek salad. Whether packed in brine or oil, keeping stuffed grape leaves in your pantry is a great way to ensure you always have something yummy to snack on when the fridge is bare.