Wondering how to use bay leaves? You must have gone to the grocery store and saw huge packs of bay leaves being sold at a 10% discount or perhaps came across the ingredient in one of your favorite tea shops.
Regardless of how you discovered this staple, you must probably be wondering how to use them the best way!
For starters, bay leaves, also known as laurel leaves, are a common ingredient in many cooking recipes and dishes. They come from the Laurus nobilis plant that is native to Asia.
These leaves have a long history of use in traditional medicine practices and cultures around the world for their natural benefits and are now utilized by people for different kinds of uses
A bay leaf provides a whole load of benefits both medically and to your cooking since it’s packed with a wide range of nutrients and flavors that will surely make your dish stand out.
With all of this in mind, it’s not a surprise why many people decide to stack up on this staple ingredient.
But what exactly are these leaves use for? Why is it so popular?
In this article, we are going to answer everything there is to know about this golden sent leaf so read on below, and let’s begin!
The Two Types of Bay Leaves
Before we dive deeper into the uses of bay leaves, let’s first discuss their types since there isn’t only one bay leaf available in the market.
For those of you who didn’t know, the two types of bay leaves are the Turkish bay leaf and the California Bay Leaf.
The two leaves have a different flavor profile, one has an herbaceous fragrance while the other is stronger with a bitter taste to it.
Turkish leaves are said to be more of an earthy tone making them ideal for cooking tomato sauces or soups whereas California leaves are known to have more potency and give out a minty aroma that is perfect for fish dishes.
The Turkish leaf is the most popular between the two since it is used in can be used in almost any dish including pasta, meat dishes, and more.
It’s important to know the difference between these two since they can be used in different dishes and also have a distinctive flavor profile when cooked with other ingredients.
Now that you know the 2 types of leaves, we can now proceed to our main agenda which is…
What Are Bay Leaves Used For?
You’ll surely be surprised to discover that a single little leaf can have a wide range of purposes.
Whether you need to use it on your cooking endeavors or perhaps for other intentions, you can fit a bay leaf into anything.
Here are the top ways you can make use of this wonderful laurel leaf:
1. For Cooking
The main purpose of a bay leaf is for cooking all sorts of dishes.
You can use it to fix yourself a plate of your favorite soup, or even to spice up a dish with some paprika and cumin.
These leaves are also used for garnishing dishes that need an extra dash of flavor like fish cakes, spaghetti Bolognese sauce, baked chicken, etc.
The leaf is rich in the aroma which will make your food taste more flavorful without using too many spices since a single leaf can already bring a great load of rich taste.
2. For Drinking
Are you a huge fan of tea? If so, you’ll certainly love how one single leaf can be used to flavor your tea.
If you want to make it taste sweeter, try adding a bay leaf or two to the teapot while boiling the water and let it steep for about five minutes before making yourself a cup of hot drink.
3. For Weight Loss
If you’re looking for a way to lose some pounds, bay leaves can be used in tea or as part of your dinner’s side dish.
A leaf from this wonderful ingredient contains properties that help in shedding some weight by relaxing muscles and boosting digestion.
4. For Scaring Off Pests
Pests can bring all sorts of problems. If you’ve got an ant infestation going on in your kitchen cabinet, then placing a bay leaf there will make the little critters think twice about coming back.
The leaf will produce a strong smell which will drive off the unwanted pests, so you won’t have to worry about how bothersome these guys are anymore.
5. For Medicinal Purposes
If you’re feeling under the weather, you might go into panic mode.
But before resorting to any medicines that might end up hurting your body more than they help it, try adding a bay leaf or two into boiling water for some relief.
This leaf contains medicinal properties that help in protecting your body.
Ain’t it amazing how useful this staple ingredient is? Before we head on to the next section, let’s have our…
We have certainly learned a lot over the past couple of paragraphs.
You’re now aware of how important a single bay leaf is, its 2 types of variety, and of course, what it is used for.
Be sure to keep all of this in mind because it’ll certainly help you understand better our topic for the next section which is cooking with it.
Excited? I’m pretty sure you are!
Let’s head down below…
How to Use Bay Leaves in Cooking
As you already know, one single laurel leaf contains a subtle flavor that helps boost up any dish.
If you decide to cook bay leaves, you need to remember that they are very delicate and need to be handled with care.
When cooking these leaves, you should always add them at the end of the process or boil for a short amount of time so that they don’t cook too much.
When using bay leaves for different recipes, you should always remember that they’re strong and can easily overpower a dish if not used properly.
It’s best to use these leaves for recipes that require to be simmered, like soups, because they don’t lose their flavor when cooked for a long period of time.
You may also use them for grilling by sticking them into the meat.
Bay leaves are great to use with any type of meat or fish dishes as well as vegetables and pasta by utilizing it as garnish.
However, if you want to add a bay leaf to a dish that needs to be fried, it might be best if you add it after the cooking process because it might end up being crispy and burnt.
Now that you know how to properly work with this staple ingredient, we’re certain you’ll be able to create even more delicious dishes.
Be sure to keep in mind all the things we’ve mentioned such as:
- You need to use the leaves properly as to not overpower any dish.
- It’s best to use the leaves in recipes such as soups since they won’t lose their flavor.
- You can use the leaf in grilling any type of meat and as a garnish for your pasta.
- If a recipe requires it to be fried and you want to put in a bay leaf, it’s best to add it after the cooking process so it doesn’t burn.
Now that we have got that covered… let’s finally have one of the most important sections that tackles medical issues.
Read on below to know more!
How to Use Bay Leaves for Protection
Bay leaves have medicinal properties that work really great for people who are struggling with all sorts of conditions. This ingredient is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, and calcium which provide a number of benefits to your health
Vitamin A is essential for good vision since it aids in the production of rhodopsin that’s needed by the retina, Calcium can help promote bone formation while providing protection from osteoporosis, and vitamin K can help in the clotting of blood.
The leaf is used to battle all sorts of condition and here listed below are some of them:
Fights Off Cancer
One of the reasons why the leaf is popular around the world is because it has been discovered to be great in fighting off cancer.
Cancer is the uncontrolled and uncontrollable growth of cells in the body with no regard to tissue type or location.
It can be caused by any number of factors and may lead to death if not treated properly.
Bay leaf fights off cancer all thanks to its rich vitamin A content. The leaf contains beta-carotene that’s converted to vitamin A in the liver, which can then be used by cells throughout the body for cell growth and repair.
In a study done on mice with tumors, they discovered that bay leaves have cancer-fighting properties when ingested orally or applied topically.
Controls Diabetes Sugar Levels
Are you diabetic and struggling with high sugar levels? If so, you need to add bay leaves to your diet.
In a study done on diabetic rats, they found that those given the leaf extract had better blood sugar levels than the control group and this is attributed to its antioxidant properties.
Bay leaves lower blood sugar levels by releasing a number of essential oils and phytochemicals essential which helps aid insulin in the body, making it an excellent ingredient for people with diabetes.
This can help them avoid dangerous blood sugar spikes and lows that could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
The leaf also boosts your immune system, so you don’t get easily sick as well as gives out antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress which leads to problems with inflammation because people with diabetes have higher levels of inflammation.
Treating Kidney Stones
Having a kidney stone is not only unpleasant but also can be really painful.
Luckily, there are several different foods you can try to help with the pain and duration as well as prevent it from happening again in the future.
One way people have found relief is by drinking bay leaves as tea. The leaves help treat kidney stones because they contain active ingredients such as tannins and flavonoids which have a natural antiseptic property.
You can also add the ingredient to your meal to help treat the stones because it is said that when you consume them, they will kill any bacteria in your kidneys or bladder as well as provide anti-inflammatory properties for those with inflamed kidneys.
Additionally, these leaves are also good for your kidneys in general and will ensure that if a stone does form again or you develop another one, it is taken care of right away, so there isn’t much damage done.
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If you weren’t an avid fan of bay leaves when you first started reading this article, we’re pretty sure you’re a die-hard fan now!
This ingredient has so many more benefits than you may have originally known, and it’s important to understand how it can be used as a medicinal herb.
You’re now aware of all the medicinal properties it contains as well as it can be used for treating all sorts of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and kidney stones.
Before you head out to add this staple ingredient to your recipe for dinner, let’s finally have the last part of this article which is…
The Final Words
This reading journey has surely been a long one, but it is indeed worth it since you now know the answer to “How to use bay leaves?”
With this new knowledge, we’re confident that you can live a better and healthier life all thanks to bay leaves.
We hope this guide has been really useful for you and you’ll be able to use this information in your daily routine.
Just remember that this leaf and other spices should be stored properly to make sure they’re still good when you need them again!
We hope to see you soon on our blog. And if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us.