Can You Freeze Banana Leaves?

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By Ross Young

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If you’ve spent any time travelling in South East Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, you will have undoubtedly come across banana leaves in cooking.

They’re an essential part of the cuisine in these parts of the world and are used to wrap meat, fish, and vegetables, depending on the recipe in question.

If you have a surplus of banana leaves, the good news is that you can freeze them for use throughout the year. We’re going to show you exactly how to go about it.

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze banana leaves. Banana leaves can be frozen for around 12 months. When selecting your banana leaves for freezing, it’s best to us gather leaves that are green and aren’t showing any signs of discolouring. 

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How to Freeze Banana Leaves

Freezing banana leaves is a straightforward process, but you do need to spend a little time preparing them so they don’t go bad when it comes to thawing them. Below are the simple steps you need to follow to freeze banana leaves: 

  1. Clean and Dry
    Rinse your leaves under the cold tap to remove any dirt. You can gently clean them with a wet paper towel if there are any stubborn particles clinging to the leaves after they’ve been rinsed. Once rinsed, dry them off with a paper towel.
  2. Cut and Prepare
    Carefully cut the central vein out of the banana leaves you intend to freeze. This will leave you with two long thin strips of the leaf. You should then cut the leaves into the appropriate sizes for future use. As a rough guide, consider cutting them into several squares that will comfortably hold any desired fillings such as meat and vegetables.
  3. Boil Water
    You need to bring a large pan of water to the boil (or fill a pan with water straight out of the kettle). Make sure you select a pan that will fit the banana leaves in without folding them. 
  4. Immerse the Leaves
    Once you have your pan of boiling water, you need to carefully immerse each banana leaf one at a time. Place each leaf in the pan to blanch for around thirty seconds. Remove them with tongs and place them on top of a paper towel on the work surface until they are dry. 
  5. Dry and Prepare for the Freezer
    When the leaves are dry, place each one on a piece of greaseproof paper and stack them on top of one another. This enables you to pack them into the same freezer bag without worrying about them sticking to one another. 
  6. Store and Freeze
    Once you have stacked the banana leaves on top of one another, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or Tupperware box. Label the bag or box with the present and use-by date and transfer to the freezer. 

3 Tips for Freezing Banana Leaves

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing banana leaves to have the best results:

  • Buy Prefrozen – You can actually buy packs of frozen banana leaves from most Asian supermarkets if you don’t have access to fresh leaves for whatever reason. This is a helpful alternative and also saves you the hassle of cutting and blanching the leaves yourself. 
  • Use Multiple Bags – If you’re okay with using several freezer bags to freeze the leaves, it reduces the chance of the leaves getting freezer burn when you pick one out each time. 
  • Warm Over a Flame – When you’ve defrosted your leaves, it’s helpful to run them over an open flame for a few seconds until it turns bright green and glossy. This will then ensure it’s ready to be used for the dish you’re preparing. 

How Long Can You Freeze Banana Leaves?

You can freeze banana leaves for around twelve months. 

However, if you plan on using them within a week, you can tightly wrap them in cling film and place them in the refrigerator. You need to make sure they’re tightly wrapped to ensure they don’t dry out.

You Can Freeze Banana Leaves for up to 12 Months

How Do You Defrost Banana Leaves?

As soon as you’re ready to use your frozen banana leaves, take the required leaves out of the freezer. You can place them on the countertop until they are at room temperature. They should be ready within an hour. Just be patient and don’t tear the leaves while they’re thawing, as they might split and will then be useless for wrapping other foods in.

Can You Refreeze Banana Leaves?

It’s best not to refreeze banana leaves after they have thawed. They are likely to split and won’t retain any of the properties that make them such a useful cooking material. This is why it’s so important to freeze them individually and to split them with greaseproof paper. This allows you to only take out the leaves that you need at that particular time. 

Do Banana Leaves Freeze Well?

Banana leaves freeze extremely well. Just make sure they’re tightly wrapped, or they will dry out. So long as you store them correctly, they will be good to use for up to one year after freezing. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing banana leaves or bananas in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Banana Peels?

Banana peels can also be frozen. All you need to do is place them into a thick freezer bag, seal the bag up, removing as much air as possible then place them into the freezer. 

Can You Freeze Bananas?

You can freeze bananas for around 6 months. Always peel them, slice them up then freeze on a baking tray. Once frozen solid, you can tip them into a freezer bag. They work great tossed into smoothies. 

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