Hojas de Plátano
USES: To wrap and gently flavor foods, especially tamales and meats, for cooking.
FINDING: Mexican (and other Latin American) groceries, some Asian ones and via the internet.
CHOOSING: Frozen banana leaves are more readily available than fresh, and frozen ones add excellent flavor. Fresh or frozen, the leaves should be soft, in tact and not yellow. The packages of frozen ones should not contain ice crystals, indicating repeated thawing and freezing.
STORING: Fresh ones in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped, for a week or more, frozen ones in the freezer (in the original package) for up to 3 months; defrosted, in the refrigerator for a week or more.