The very first time I used fenugreek leaves (methi) in cooking was to make Gobhi-Methi Stuffed Paratha. Happily bought 2 bundles of methi leaves because they were ridiculously cheap that season (2 bundles for $1) and began cleaning them while imagining what other dishes should I make with methi for the rest of the week.
After about two hours, I furiously called my husband and said “I have been cleaning the ~!@#$% fenugreek leaves past two hours, it’s such a pain in the @$$. If you ever buy this thing again, I will give pain in your @$$.”
I am dangerous when I’m this pissed off, so hubby behaved his best that evening. Then I told him how I cleaned the fenugreek leaves. I removed the band that tied the bunch together, and put it in a big bowl of water. I expected the dirt to settle at the bottom and the clean stems along with leaves to float on top. Nice and easy. But that didn’t happen.
The dirt floated along with the leaves, especially more because of whatever soil that was stuck to the roots also spread out more in the water bath. It just made it messier to pluck the leaves off each stem and clean them properly. What could have taken only 15 minutes took 1 hour, and that explains the two bunches in two hours.
But because the dishes with methi tasted so friggin good, we risked buying two bunches later again. This time, I was careful to not give the fenugreek leaves a water bath first, but I was not careful to use them soon enough the same week. Suffocated inside the plastic bag inside the fridge for over a week, some started to get pale, and some fainted.
When I began to pluck the leaves off this time, seeing the amount of yellow and pale leaves and stems that I had to discard, with only a small quantity of decent leaves remaining on hand – I realized how wasteful I was. And that I should have used them up faster. I swear, even after having my calendar-organizer it’s silly I wasn’t keeping track of my grocery.
So far, I learned two lessons: i) don’t put fenugreek leaves bunch along with roots in water bath, and ii) don’t put off plucking the leaves until they start to fade and wilt.
And then, I learned the right ways.
First, you pluck out the thin tiny stems along with leaves from the thick stems. The bitter, thick stems are discarded, no second thoughts.
Second, if you have to use the fenugreek leaves right away for cooking, give the leaves a quick water bath inside one bowl of water, then dip them in another bowl of clean water. Give a swirl, you know, with your fingers. Pick the leaves, the way you’d pick small fishes in net for your aquarium? These can now be used for you to cook. The leaves, I mean, not the fish. I’m a vegetarian :D
Third, instead of cooking right away if you want to store fenugreek leaves for longer, don’t rinse them – wrap the plucked out leaves inside a newspaper (good idea) or paper towel (better idea) and inside a Ziploc or plastic bag. Measure like I did, if you want. I did not know what the opposite of ‘washed leaves’ would be, so I wrote ‘unwashed’. It’s not a word I know, but do what works, hehe! These will store well for over two weeks.
The picture below was taken exactly 40 days later. You can see the condition of leaves – half of them turned brown while some are still green and usable, even after a month.
Fourth, if you’re not going to cook soon, and if you don’t want to store in paper towel, then here’s another method to store fenugreek leaves: rinse the fenugreek leaves clean, drain water out, spread them on newspaper and let them dry up naturally on patio or terrace for a day or two. You can store these dried fenugreek leaves for months.
It’s best to do this when fenugreek leaves are cheap and in season, so you have a good amount to use for the rest of the year. I still have one batch of dried fenugreek leaves since last year. I think currently they’re selling for $1.29 per bunch! But then of course, the quantity of fresh leaves and dried leaves you use in a recipe would differ, so would the taste. But at least you have something better than nothing?
So now, just like the pineapples and strawberries, I don’t waste fenugreek leaves either. I am becoming a better kitchen manager(?), yay.
Do you have a tip to share on how you clean or store your greens? Or is there some vegetable or fruit that cleaning or prepping it you think is a pain in the @$$? :D
- how to clean fenugreek leaves
- how to store methi leaves
- how to identify good methi leaves
- how to clean methi leaves
- how to remove dirt from fenugreek