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How to Store Fresh Curry Leaves

A very interesting question was asked on the group yesterday, and that was “what is the best way to store fresh curry leaves.”

This question holds a lot of meaning for me, because when I moved to Cape Town from KZN at the end of 2015, I simply could not find fresh curry leaves anywhere.

I was quite heartbreaking, to say the least. Especially since I left a beautifully healthy tree behind in KZN, that was a gift from a former Police Brigadier, but that is another story altogether. Durban Curry is just not Durban Curry, without Curry Leaf.

On my first holiday back to Durban, I made sure to stock up. I filled a 2L ice cream container as tight as I could. They were still pretty fresh when I got back to Cape Town, my job was not to make sure that they stayed this way.

You should have smelled my luggage, heavenly. I was tempted to take a bite out of my towel.

When I got back to Hout Bay. I now had the task of trying to preserve this very rare and valuable commodity and, for me, freezing was the only option.

I bought a pack of kitchen swabs and layered the curry leaves between the swabs, in the ice cream bucket. (almost like a lasagna), then kept the tub in the freezer – being careful to remove when I needed as fast as possible and get the tub back in the freezer.

It worked very well, all things considering and the smell of fresh curry drove the neighbours mad for weeks – and then I ran out again and could not find for a very long time.

I found some at the PnP at Gordons Bay, they had a 3 for 2 Special in little punnets. I bought most of them and again froze them, but this time in the punnet. They did go much darker than when I had them ‘wrapped’ in the swabs, but the flavour was just the same, or at least the difference was hardly noticeable.

Funny enough, I eventually ended up moving to Gordons Bay, and now have a regular supply. (no it is not what you are thinking … ok maybe, it is)

Here are some of the wonderful ideas and suggestions made by the members of our group, We are Durban Curry Lovers.

  • I usually store them with my curry powder mix in a sealed container.
  • In an airtight container. I have started storing my fresh herbs, Dhania, Parsley, curry leaves in my old coffee containers. My Parsley is a month old. Dhania 3 weeks. Stays fresh.
  • Freeze them, if you don’t have a growing plant.
  • You can store curry leaves in a glass bottle with lid and keep in your fridge.
  • You can also wrap in foil and keep in the fridge.
  • Mine stays in a plastic bag in the crisper draw in the fridge… Can last for months. I’m also struggling to find a curry leaf tree in New Zealand .
  •  Chop the curry leaves up and store in glass bottle topped with vegetable oil in the refrigerator. Use a dry clean spoon every time when needed, it lasts for months.
  • I mix mine with my curry powder and put in the freezer or fridge.
  • Freezer. Like fresh when you take them out. But they thaw quickly so just take out what you need and put the rest back soonest.
  • My cousin gave me a young Curry Leaf plant, which is growing nicely in a larger pot now. I take fresh leaves every time I make curry…lovely aroma (editors note: ha ha, show off)

(Thanks to everybody for sharing, there sure is a lot of wisdom in our group.)

So friends, the common denominator here seems to be to keep the curry leaves cold or frozen. There are some great ideas here and they work for the people who shared them, so it is worth giving a shot.

If you have a method that you would like to share, please do so in the comments below, it would be greatly appreciated.

For interest sake, here are some of the health benefits of eating curry leaves.

  • Helps keep anaemia at bay
  • Weight loss
  • It can help in treating dysentery, constipation and diarrhea
  • Relieves morning sickness and nausea
  • Eliminates bacteria
  • Good for diabetics
  • Good for eyesight
  • Reduce stress
  • Heals wounds, burns and skin eruptions
  • Hair Growth
  • Improves Memory

There are even studies that show that curry leaves may help to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A study done in rats suggests that curry leaves not only protected against future damage to brain cells, but actually reversed some effects of past brain cell damage. While this early research is promising, the study has not yet been reproduced with humans.

Here is an interesting article on the benefits of eating curry leaves on and some more Curry Cooking Tips & Tricks.

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