Posted By: Diala Chahine
Stuffed grape leaves are very popular in the Middle Eastern countries. Since I moved to the states, it has been hard to find Middle Eastern food to eat around the area. My dads uncle was visiting Lebanon and mentioned that he is able to bring back grape leaves branch. These grape leaves are used to make this stuffed grape leaves dish. We were able to get this special kind of branch and we ended up planting it in our backyard. There are various grape leaves trees which makes the fruit, grapes, however these that we planted are edible compared to other grape leave trees. The biggest difference is the thickness of the blade. The ones we eat are really thin, which is why they might be more prone to pathogens or contamination of some kind of fungi.
When the professor gave us these Foldscopes, I immediately knew what I wanted to look into. These grape leaves that we eat have white fuzzy texture on the back of them. It seems to be hyphae from a fungi.
It was hard to put the Foldscope together, but I got the help of my dad. He was curious to see what was on these leaves and he was very fascinated when he looked into this Foldscope. To obtain the white fuzzy parts on the leaf I got a piece of tape and patted on the leaf in order for it to stick to the tape. Taking a picture with my phone was probably the most difficult part, but I got the hang of it after trying multiple times. I tilted my phone almost flat while holing it and looking through the lens while it was pointed at a light inside my house. Learning all about fungi and hyphae in this class and then applying it at home to the food we eat every day was something I really enjoyed doing. In the picture above from the Foldscope, you can see the hyphae and the branching of them and how some areas are clumped while some strands are clearly visible.
In the picture above, you can see the dish that my mom prepares with these grape leaves. After picking them, she boils them in hot water in order to disinfect them and get rid of any insects that may be on them.