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Can You Freeze Bay Leaves?

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By Ross Young

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Bay leaves are an important part of many dishes, most notably curries, stews and casseroles that merit the little extra kick provided by their inclusion.

If you’re lucky enough to have outside space to grow herbs, like bay leaves yourself, you might be wondering how best to preserve them so they don’t go to waste. Maybe you need to consider freezing them? But can you freeze bay leaves?

Bay leaves can be frozen for around 3 months. When it comes to freezing herbs, you can keep them in the freezer for as long as you wish. We recommend three months because this is the ideal amount of time without them losing any of their taste.

Do Bay Leaves Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Bay Leaves? Yes

How to Freeze Bay Leaves

You’ll be pleased to know that there’s nothing too complicated about freezing bay leaves, whether they’re fresh out of your garden or shop-bought. Simply follow the steps below to preserve your bay leaves in the freezer.

  1. Wash and Dry
    Place your bay leaves in a colander and run them under cold water for around ten seconds to wash them thoroughly.

    Then pat them dry with a paper towel. You should also remove any blemishes on the leaf, as these are early signs of blackening. 
  2. Place Them in a Freezer-Safe Bag
    Drop your bay leaves in a freezer-safe bag. You will need to press out as much air as you can before sealing the bag. 
  3. Label and Freeze
    Write today’s date, as well as the desired use-by date of the bay leaves on the front of the freezer-safe bag. Remember, you should freeze bay leaves for around three months.

4 Tips for Freezing Bay Leaves

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 4 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing bay leaves to have the best results:

Freeze in Small Quantities
Smaller quantities of bay leaves freeze better than larger quantities. If you have more than a handful of bay leaves to freeze at any given time, it’s a good idea to split them into separate bags before freezing.

Freeze Deep
It’s better to freeze bay leaves and other herbs in the deepest part of your freezer. This is because it will help to preserve the fresh flavour of the leaves.

Dry in Sunlight
When drying your bay leaves after washing, you can leave them to dry in sunlight for around an hour if paper towels don’t do the trick. However, don’t leave them any longer than this as they will start to dry and shrivel in the sunlight.

Mix with Other Herbs
For a unique way of preserving bay leaves in the freezer, consider chopping your leaves and mixing them with other herbs and spices. Add some olive oil and place them in your ice tray. You will then have a ready-made cube of herbs and spices to drop into your recipes from frozen.

How Long Can You Freeze Bay Leaves?

You can freeze bay leaves for around three months.

Although it’s perfectly fine to store bay leaves in your cupboard at room temperature, freezing is arguably the best way to preserve them.

With that in mind, add your bay leaves to the freezer as soon as you’ve picked them from the garden or brought them home from the store.

You Can Freeze Bay Leaves for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Bay Leaves?

There’s no need to defrost your bay leaves before using them.

Whether you’re chopping them up and adding them to your pan or adding them to your favourite curry to give it a little more flavour, you just need to pick a leaf from the freezer and drop it in. As such, defrosting bay leaves is unnecessary.

Can You Refreeze Bay Leaves?

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with refreezing bay leaves. However, we wouldn’t recommend it. The whole point of using bay leaves in your recipes is to give them a kick and that unique flavour that make bay leaves so popular in various cuisines.

If you freeze, defrost, and then refreeze bay leaves, it’s likely to reduce their overall flavour. Considering bay leaves can be used in cooking from frozen, you can just pick the leaves from the freezer bag as and when you need them.

Do Bay Leaves Freeze Well?

Providing you don’t leave them in the freezer for too long, bay leaves freeze well. As with any herbs, you should seek to use them while they’re as fresh as possible, so they retain their full flavours and add something to your food.

So, as soon as you’ve picked them from the garden or brought them home from the store, get them in the freezer as quickly as you can in order to preserve their freshness.

Related FAQs

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

What is the Best Way to Store Bay Leaves?

Freezing bay leaves is actually one of the best ways to preserve them for the long term – especially if they’re fresh. 

How Long Do Dried Bay Leaves Last?

Provided that they are stored in a cool, dry and dark place, you’ll find that dried bay leaves will last in the cupboard for around 2 years before losing too much of their flavour, thankfully. 

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