fresh curry leaves-- best way to save them?
Fresh curry leaves are something I have to go out of my way to find, and the package I get is far more than I need for a single recipe. I'd like to know the best way to save them; in the past, I've thrown the package in the freezer, but they turn rather an unattractive brown. Maybe it doesn't matter, but would I be better off letting them dry out and saving them that way?
I can vouch for the method foodiefrenzie has posted. Generations of Indian women in my family have stored excess curry leaves this way. I do wash and dry them thoroughly though before I lay the leaves out to air dry on a cookie cooling rack (So that the air circulates better around the leaves). This process takes up to a weeks time. Ideally, the leaves should not blacken but become a dry-herb green. The black ones usually have no flavor. Then, I simply crush the leaves before using or just powder them in my blender before storing them in an air-tight box in the freezer. The flavour remains great. In fact, I feel, it intensifies (as with any dried herb).
how long are you looking to store them? for a few weeks wet paper towel and ziplock bags work.
freezing is second best. i haven't come across the color change or what not. maybe put it in the fridge first then freeze?
this is rom a sri lankan whose parents have had a curry leaf tree no matter where they lived.. we gave branches to anyone who needed it.
I have found that to take excess leaves and lay them out to dry stiff and then pulverize them in a coffee mill I use exclusively for herbs gives me a WONDERFUL dry spice to sprinkle on anything! ... like my eggs in the morning. The true flavor remains intact and it keeps very well. Mine never has the chance to expire in taste since we use curry leaves in so much of our multi -ethnic cuisine.
I think there was another thread about this not too long ago. It might be worth checking for.
I haven't tried curry leaves. I've really wanted to find some. Or try to grow some next summer.
But I have frozen other herbs. Usually in butter which keeps them really fresh frozen all winter.
I know butter wouldn't mesh well with curry leaves. But what about using another kind of oil and freezing that way? Might be worth an experiment to see if it works better than freezing dry.
I see no reason to wash them however. water is an enemy. Unlike, say, coriander leaves, curry leaves grow on a tall plant/bush, not near the ground, In us they are probably grown in greenhouses. Id take whatever minor risk there is in favor of avoiding rot, which is the way they are typically lost.
I cant suggest a very satisfactory way. I tend to leave them in a ziploc baggie in the refrigerator door - they will normally dehydrate and dry out naturally that way tho sometimes they go black. I like this better than freezing - but its always possible for me to make a trip for more if the saved leaves are subpar.
I used to freeze but they get limp and dark that way, which I dont like.
Hopefully others will have suggestions.