In Goa one does not have to scratch ones head to come up with ways n means to store these leaves for many days because the plant itself grows in the backyard.
The ladies of the house usually just pluck the fresh leaves before starting their cooking for the day.
But when you live abroad one has to make do with the store bought curry leaves and specially if you are like me living in a place that has winter for the major part of the year, you need to store those for a long time coz how many times can you make a trip to an Indian store that too when there is a winter storm in the forecast.
Once my mom had sun dried the leaves from her backyard and got them for me when she visited me in the USA.
The other day I opened one packet of leaves that I had bought from the store but in a hurry I left the packet open in the fridge, the poor leaves just dried in the cold air of the refrigerator and got crisp.
Well, that worked for me coz I thought why not freeze the leaves, and yes that worked very fine.
I separated the leaves from the stems, washed them, wiped them dry and spread them on the tray. Popped the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours and then voila they were all frozen, put the frozen leaves in a zip lock bag(any container) and stuffed it in the freezer again.
The color has mellowed down slightly (but it is not black ) and the leaves still smell fresh when u tear them. Frozen leaves do not get crispy, they remain soft.
Have been having these frozen leaves in the fridge for over a month now.
I prefer the freezer method of preserving the curry leaves.
Usually cooks just put the whole curry leaves in the dish and while eating the leaf is discarded.
The curry leaf has lot of health benefits so to get us to eat the leaf Ma used to snip the leaves with a knife or scissors and then add the shreds to the dals or other dishes that way we used to eat it along with the rest of the food.
I follow in my Ma's footsteps in this regards, and add shreds of kadipatta whenever I use it. This way I get my kids n hubby to eat the leaves too ;) and the food looks pretty too with the shreds of kadipatta leaves in it.