Can You Freeze Curry Leaves?

Curry leaves originate from southern India and Sri Lanka, and although it sounds like they smell and taste like curry powder, that’s far from the truth. Curry powder is made from such spices as turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and coriander.

Curry leaves have a strong lemongrass flavor and are used in curries to give a citrusy touch to your dish. However, you will probably only need two or three for a curry so what do you do with the rest. The chances are that you won’t only buy a couple but instead, a handful.

Well, the answer is simple. Freeze what you don’t use. In this article, we are going to tell you how to freeze curry leaves.

How To Freeze Curry Leaves

The problem is that curry leaves have a strong aroma and can infuse other food in your freezer. Because of this, you need to store them in either thick freezer bags or an airtight container.  It is, however, very easy to freeze curry leaves (see also Can You Freeze Lemongrass?).

1. Remove the leaves from the stalks.

Get rid of any leaves that are spoiled. Wash the leaves under cold water and put them on a piece of kitchen roll to dry. You don’t want to put them in the freezer while they are wet because ice crystals will form, and the leaves will become soggy and lose flavor.

2. Put the curry leaves in thick freezer bags or an airtight container.

If you are using freezer bags, make sure that you squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. If you don’t and the air gets in, freezer burn can occur, and the curry leaves will lose flavor. This is important because the flavor is what you want from curry leaves. Put a label on the bag or container with the date you put it in the freezer and the contents.

3. Freeze.

Tips For Freezing Curry Leaves

  1. Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags to stop freezer burn from occurring
  2. Label the bags. You might freeze other leaves such as bay leaves or kaffir lime leaves and if you don’t label the bags, it will be very difficult for you to tell which leaves are which. 
  3. Use quality freezer bags so that the flavor of the curry leaves doesn’t permeate the freezer. 

For How Long Can You Freeze Curry Leaves?

Curry leaves can be kept for up to a year in the freezer. After this time, they will still be safe to use but they will start to lose their strong curry flavor. Of course, you could just add more leaves to your curry if you haven’t used them all by the time the year is up. 

How Do You Defrost Curry Leaves?

The good news is that you don’t need to defrost curry leaves. All you have to do is grab as many as you need to get the strength of curry that you want and add them to your dish. Because they are so thin, they will defrost as soon as they hit the hot curry.

Can You Refreeze Curry Leaves?

We don’t recommend that you refreeze curry leaves. Each time you freeze, defrost, and refreeze, the flavor will deteriorate and the last thing you want out of curry leaves is lack of taste. Because you don’t need to defrost them you will probably only take out as many as you need so there will be no need to refreeze them.

Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Curry Leaves?

Yes, leaves such as curry, bay, and kaffir lime all freeze very well. Freezing, in fact, locks in the flavor of all these types of leaves. Perhaps you grow curry leaves yourself. If so, you will probably end up with a glut of them that you can’t use all at once. If so, freezing is the solution. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, now you know all there is to know about freezing curry leaves but in case you want to know more about curry leaves, we have answered a few questions here. 

What dishes can I use curry leaves in?

Curry leaves enhance a whole host of dishes. They go especially well in chicken, fish, and seafood curries as well as vegetarian and vegan curries such as eggplant and chickpea (see also Freezing Chickpeas) or cauliflower. If you want a nutty flavor, fry the curry leaves in oil first before adding them to the curry. Curry leaves also go well in Thai curries, particularly ones made with coconut milk or cream. You can use them in chutneys and dahl as well.

Can you freeze dried curry leaves?

Yes, you can freeze dried curry leaves but there is really no point. If you freeze fresh curry leaves, they last for up to a year in the freezer.  If you keep your dried curry leaves in an airtight container, they will last for up to a year as well.  The same goes for bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves. 

Can you use dried curry leaves in the same way as fresh?

When cooking with dried curry leaves, you will need more leaves than if you were using fresh leaves. Generally, drying out leaves enhances the flavor but this isn’t the case with curry leaves. 

Can you eat curry leaves?

It won’t harm you to eat curry leaves but they can be a bit tough and chewy so we don’t advise it. When you have cooked your curry, fish the leaves out so you and your guests don’t accidentally eat one.

Can you grow a curry leaf tree in a temperate climate?

Curry leaves are native to southern India so grow mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. However, they will thrive in temperate climates. If the temperature doesn’t fall below 32 F, you can plant the curry tree straight into the ground. If it gets colder, plant it in a container. Curry trees prefer rich, well-drained soil in a warm, protected location. Move them indoors when it gets cold.

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