Kaffir lime leaves are one of those things that can make your home cooking go from an imitation to authentic, and it hardly takes any effort at all to do.
They can be a bit expensive though, and there’s a really good chance you aren’t going to be using them all at once, or all that often. So, surely you’re wondering – can you freeze kaffir lime leaves?
Thankfully, yes you can. Lime leaves freeze very well and can keep for up to 12 months without any loss of taste or quality.
How To Freeze Lime Leaves
Some foods can be a whole process to freeze, but that’s not the case with kaffir lime leaves. They lend themselves very well to freezing, and it’s a very simple process. You’ll need to keep one thing in mind though, the odor.
Lime leaves have a very potent smell, if you just put them in the freezer touching open air, it’ll likely seep into every other food item in your freezer.
You’ll need to freeze them correctly to avoid this.
Step 1 – Prepare The Bag
You’ll first need to grab yourself a freezer-safe ziploc storage bag. Don’t use a cheap bag, or one that’s not designed for freezer storage. This could let some of the odor penetrate through the plastic, and you really don’t want that. Invest a little bit more money and get those thick freezer bags instead.
Step 2 – Bag the Leaves
All you need to do now is pop those leaves into your bag and seal it up. Try to get as much air out as you can while you’re sealing it. Once it’s as air-tight as you can get it, place it into the freeze and you’re done!
There’s not much to freezing kaffir lime leaves, thankfully. Now you can have them for whatever dish you crave for the next 12 months.
How Long Can Lime Leaves Be Kept Frozen
Lime leaves can be kept in the freezer for a surprisingly long time. It’ll take about 12 months before you start to see any degradation in flavor or texture.
They’ll be safe to eat even well beyond this time range, but the flavor and aroma may not pack quite as hefty a punch as they did the previous year. They can be kept indefinitely frozen, if you don’t mind that slight degradation.
Even though they will keep indefinitely, it’s still good practice to properly label and date your leaves. You don’t want to accidentally grab fresher leaves instead of the older ones needing to be used sooner, if you have a lot of leaves you’re freezing.
Labeling is also quite helpful when you’ve got a lot of leaves you’re using, such as fresh bay leaves or curry leaves. They can be almost indistinguishable from kaffir lime leaves.
How To Defrost Lime Leaves
Good news keeps growing with these leaves – they’re just as easy to thaw as they are to freeze. In fact, you don’t even need to thaw them! Just grab your desired amount of leaves from the bag and use them how you normally would. If you’re making curry for example, just toss them into the dish as the recipe calls for and carry on.
These leaves are delicate and thin, so they’ll thaw nearly instantly when you throw the frozen leaves into a hot pot.
Can You Refreeze Lime Leaves
Frozen kaffir lime leaves will leech a bit of moisture when they’re frozen. That moisture takes with it a good bit of the flavor. When they’re refrozen, you’ll be doing that again – stripping a little more moisture out of the leaves.
Kaffir lime leaves are absolutely packed to the brim with flavor, so freezing them a second time won’t completely remove all of it, but it can definitely bring it down into more subtle territory. So, technically you can freeze them more than once, but it’s not really recommended because of the aforementioned flavor loss, and in general it’s not advised to freeze any food more than once.
As you can see, freezing lime leaves is very easy and simple, and you don’t even need to thaw them out when you need them again. They can be added directly to the cooking pot or dish from the freezer to use as intended.