Store Mexican pepperleaf in your refrigerator.
It can be dried (though it will become less flavorful) or frozen for long term storage.
Shelf Life: 5-7 days fresh.
Use pepperleaf leaves to wrap food (especially seafood, tamales, beef, or chicken) before steaming, baking, grilling, or braising in order to protect it from the heat and impart additional aroma and flavor. A classic application using this technique is Veracruz’s pescado en hoja santa -
fish baked in hoja santa leaves.
If your leaves are too stiff to wrap easily, try cutting our their center rib and/or briefly dipping them in hot water for 1-2 minutes to make them soft enough to wrap things in.
Chopped or pureed pepperleaf is also used in sauces (one of the most famous is Oaxacan mole verde) soups and stews.
Pepperleaf leaves are also sometimes used to flavor chocolate drinks in central Mexico. Some people wrap cheeses in pepperleaf for a few days to infuse them with subtle flavor.
Try pairing pepperleaf with seafood, tomatoes, chilies, shrimp/prawns, chicken, eggs, Mexican cheeses, beef, chocolate, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin seeds/pepitas.