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Pandan Plant Harvesting:
Optimal Time and Technique

Updated: July 2, 2023

Pandan Plant

Pandan, also known as screwpine, is a tropical plant that is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisines for its unique aroma and flavor. The plant is not only prized for its culinary uses but also for its medicinal properties. If you have a pandan plant in your garden or are planning to grow one, it is important to know the optimal time and technique for harvesting the leaves. In this article, we will explore the best practices for pandan plant harvesting.

Choosing the Right Time

Pandan leaves are at their best when they are young and tender. The ideal time to harvest the leaves is when they are about 1-2 feet long and have a vibrant green color. At this stage, the leaves are rich in essential oils and have the most intense aroma and flavor.

It is important to note that pandan leaves can be harvested throughout the year, but they tend to be more flavorful during certain seasons. In general, pandan plants are more productive during the rainy season when they receive ample water and nutrients. Therefore, if you want to maximize the flavor of your pandan leaves, consider harvesting them during the rainy season.

Harvesting Techniques

When it comes to harvesting pandan leaves, there are a few techniques you can use depending on your preferences and the resources available to you.

Handpicking Method

The handpicking method is the most common and simplest way to harvest pandan leaves. Start by selecting mature leaves that are about 1-2 feet long and have a vibrant green color. Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves close to the base of the plant. Make sure to leave a few inches of the stem attached to each leaf as this will help the plant recover more quickly.

Strip Harvesting Method

The strip harvesting method is a more efficient technique for harvesting a large number of pandan leaves. To use this method, start by selecting a mature pandan plant with several leaves. Hold the base of the plant firmly with one hand and use the other hand to strip the leaves off the stem by pulling downward. This technique allows you to harvest multiple leaves at once, saving time and effort.

Regenerative Harvesting Method

The regenerative harvesting method is a sustainable approach that promotes the growth and longevity of your pandan plant. Instead of cutting off the entire leaf, simply remove a few inches from the tip of each leaf. This way, you can harvest smaller portions of the leaves without damaging the plant. The remaining part of the leaf will continue to grow, allowing you to harvest from the same plant multiple times.

Handling and Storing Pandan Leaves

After you have harvested your pandan leaves, it is important to handle and store them properly to maintain their freshness and flavor.


Before using or storing your pandan leaves, it is essential to clean them thoroughly. Rinse the leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Gently pat dry with a clean towel or let them air dry.


To extend the shelf life of your pandan leaves, it is best to store them in an airtight container or bag. You can refrigerate fresh pandan leaves for up to two weeks. Alternatively, you can freeze them for long-term storage. To freeze pandan leaves, wrap them individually in plastic wrap or place them in a ziplock bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

Utilizing Pandan Leaves

Now that you have successfully harvested and stored your pandan leaves, it’s time to put them to good use! Here are some popular ways to utilize pandan leaves in cooking:

Infusing Flavors

Pandan leaves are often used to infuse dishes with their unique aroma and flavor. You can add whole or shredded pandan leaves to rice, soups, curries, and desserts to enhance their taste. To infuse the flavor, simply tie a few leaves into a knot and add them to the cooking liquid. Remove the leaves before serving.

Extracting Juice

Pandan leaves can also be used to extract juice, which is commonly used in desserts and beverages. To extract pandan juice, blend a handful of pandan leaves with water and strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. The resulting green liquid can be added to various recipes to impart a vibrant color and pandan flavor.

Wrapping Food

In Southeast Asian cuisines, pandan leaves are often used as a natural wrapper for steaming or grilling food. The leaves impart a subtle aroma and flavor to the food while keeping it moist and tender. Common examples include using pandan leaves to wrap chicken or fish before grilling or steaming sticky rice.


Harvesting pandan leaves at the optimal time and using the right techniques is vital to ensure the best flavor and aroma. Whether you prefer the handpicking method, strip harvesting method, or regenerative harvesting method, make sure to choose mature leaves during the rainy season for maximum flavor. Properly handling and storing the leaves will help maintain their freshness for extended periods. So go ahead, harvest your pandan plant with confidence, and enjoy the delightful flavors it brings to your culinary creations!