bayleaf

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Also known as
Tejpat, Tejpatta, Tamalpatra

Description
Bayleaf refers to an aromatic leaf with their fragrance being more noticeable in cooked foods than their taste. The bay tree is indigenous to Asia Minor, from where it spread to the Mediterranean and then to other countries with similar climates .Bay Leaves or Laurel Leaves are evergreen shrub or dried leaves whose upper surface is shiny, olive green, and lower surface is dull olive to brown. The leaf size ranges from 2.5 to 7.5 cms in length and 1.6 to 2.5 cms in breadth. The shape of the leaf is elliptical, pointed and smooth. Flavour is slightly bitter and strongly aromatic. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme.

Indian bay leaf

Indian bay leaf also called as tej patta has similar fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. The aroma is more closely related to cassia. The appearance of Indian bay leaf is same as that of other bay leaves but their genus and culinary usage is different.

Greek Bay leaf

These leaves are aromatic and belong to the Laurel family (Lauraceae). Because of their distinctive flavor and fragrance they are used for preparing various dishes.

Mediterranean Bay Leaf

Laurus nobilis also called as Mediterranean bay leaf is fresh leaf with mild aroma and flavor. Even after several weeks of picking and drying , they do not develop their full flavor.

California bay leaf

California bay leaf is highly aromatic and is also sometimes referred to as Mexican bay leaves or Oregon myrtle, and pepperwood. They look similar to Mediterranean leaves but with a stronger flavor.

Indonesian bay leaf" or "Indonesian laurel(salam leaf)
Not commonly found outside of Indonesia, this exotic spice is applied to meat and, less often to vegetable preparations.


Culinary Uses

· Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance.
· The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine.
· The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaisse and bouillon. In Indian cuisine, the leaves are most often used whole while tempering for vegetable dishes or biryanis and removed before serving.
· Bay leaves can also be crushed (or ground) before cooking.
· Crushed bay leaves impart more of their desired fragrance than whole leaves, and there is less chance of biting into a leaf directly.
· They are also used as seasoning for fish, meat, poultry and as a common pickling herb.

Preparation and Storage

Dried leaves should be whole and olive green. Brown leaves will have lost their flavor. Whole leaves are often used in cooking and crushed or ground leaves can be used for extra strength. Kept out of light in airtight containers, the whole leave will retain flavour for over two years.

Health benefits

· Bayleaf has many properties which makes it useful for treating high blood sugar, migraine headaches, bacterial and fungal infections, and gastric ulcers.
· Bay leaves and berries have been used for their astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic and stomachic properties.
· Bay Leaf contains eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
· Bayleaf is also an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
· Bay Leaf has also been used to treat rheumatism, amenorrhea, and colic pains.




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