As I look outside my window I see a dozen beautiful banana trees with large green leaves waving in the breeze. Soon it will freeze in north Texas; my leaves will shrivel and turn brown, and the trunks will collapse when their internal cell structures can no longer hold them upright. This is the time of year when I go outside and “harvest” some leaves to tide me over until next spring when I have access to a fresh crop of leaves.

  

Freezing banana leaves

Preparing banana leaves to be frozen is a very simple process. I usually select about a dozen leaves that are bright green, not torn and have a minimal amount of yellow or brown edges. I want my leaves to be as perfect as possible. Here are the steps to freezing them:

  • Clean the leaves with a wet paper towel to remove any obvious dirt.
  • Dry the leaves with a clean paper towel.
  • Carefully cut the central vein out of each leaf so you will have two long thin leaf strips. I cut them on a cutting board so I can run the knife across the leave without damaging my counter.
     
Fresh banana leaves getting ready to be blanched and frozen.

Fresh banana leaves getting ready to be blanched and frozen.

 

  • Cut off any thin strips that tore when the vein was removed. At this point you may want to cut some of the leaves in half or thirds, depending on how you plan to use them in the future.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  • Carefully immerse each leaf piece, one at a time, in the pot and blanch it for 30 seconds. Remove from the pot with tongs and carefully lay them flat on the counter until they are dry.
     
    Blanched banana leaves ready to be frozen for future use.

    Blanched banana leaves ready to be frozen for future use.

     

  • Fold and lay the leaves in a pile. Place them in a freezer zip top bag and set in the freezer. Often I use several bags so the leaves are not damaged by freezer burn as I remove individual leaves.

Thawing banana leaves

When you are ready to use the leaves, simply place one or two on the counter. Take care not to let the leaves tear until they come to room temperature. The leaves will be soft, pliable and ready to use in a short time. Dry the leaves before using them.

  

Alternative to freezing the leaves yourself

Now that you have read through my entire post, frozen packages of banana leaves are available at many Asian grocery stores. This can save you some time or give you an option if the leaves are not available where you live.

 

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9 Thoughts on “How to Freeze Banana Leaves

  1. Really interested content you have in there.

  2. Michelle on November 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm said:

    I was surprised that this was the only site I found that explained the freezing process. Last batch I had a few years ago went bad in the freezer, so trying again this year. More insulating bags this time! Also, I can’t remember if I boiled them for 30 secs last time. Is that to kill bugs or to prepare the leaf for being frozen? Interesting!

    • Hi Michelle! Thank you for visiting my site! The reason i boiled them was to make the leaves flexible so I could fold them into the bags. I find working with the blanched leaves much easier to do. You could skip the blanching step and cut them into pieces. Since the leaves came from my back yard, I didn’t see any bugs on them. After a few months in the freezer the leaves do get freezer burn and start to loose their flavor. Good luck!

  3. interesting… i was looking for a way of preserving them. when you wrap rice and curry in banana leaves it gives an extra taste and aroma. thanks a lot in sharing your experience

  4. terry cherry on September 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm said:

    thank you for this info. I couldn’t find anything on how to freeze leaves .im going to give it a wirl …
    😉

  5. Hirosh on August 27, 2017 at 12:21 am said:

    Thank You, I was looking for a way to preserve banana leaf for long time. I am going to try this

  6. Shannon on November 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm said:

    So glad I found this blog. I have cut and cleaned my banana leaves and was wondering if I could put them in the refrigerator for one week instead of freezing them?

    • Hi Shannon, thank you for your question. I would recommend storing the banana leaves in the refrigerator for just a few days. I have not tried keeping them for that long. Let me know how your leaves handle the time. All the best, Ann.

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