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Advice on Using the California Bay Leaf in Cooking

By Edited Jun 18, 2015 1 6

Some people think very highly of these leaves and will seldom prepare meals without using them. They have a stronger flavor than the variety which is currently used in Asia and the Mediterranean. Plants that are grown elsewhere have less of the potent oil than those that are cultivated in this region. The volatile oil has a concentration of 7.5% in this tree.

Although this spice is an essential ingredient in many kitchens worldwide, several people avoid it because they worry about the hazards.  People have made the mistake of inhaling the scent of the leaves too deeply and this causes pain in the sinuses. For this reason, it is important to utilize it carefully and avoid its side effects as much as spossible. Use less in your pot than you would with the store bought variety.

This natural product is used to season roasted potatoes. Your dinner will be tastier and there is no need to add other spices. If you are cooking for someone who is not to have salt or fat, they will enjoy this dish. Slice the potatoes and place one leaf in each. The flavor will soak through as the tubers cook.

If you are not on a strict diet, you can make the potatoes even tastier. Adding a little bit of sea salt and olive oil to them will enhance their flavor. If you are not watching your weight, you can use goose fat or bacon drippings as well. These are just a few of the ingredients you can use with California Bay Leaves.

If you live in this state, you are likely to have different experiences with using it. People who have a tree in their community are much more likely to cook lots of meals with them. Residents who do not have that option are less accustomed to using them and stick to what they find at the grocers.

When these trees grow in mountainous areas, there is a marked difference in their flavor. Parts of the state that are hot produce plants with bitter leaves. Those that are grown in cooler communities in CA are sweeter. If you have used samples from different neighborhoods, you will notice this.

California Bay Leaves have a very strong flavor, so you might have to take them out of the pot early. This will prevent them from overpowering the other ingredients. Check your dish constantly while you are cooking and this will help you to produce the right balance with all the seasonings. 

The Spice Hunter California Bay Leaves, Whole, Organic



Apr 24, 2013 12:36pm
I love the taste of bay leaves. Thank you for introducing me to California bay leaves - I will try them!
Thumbs up for your information.
May 25, 2013 9:29am
Glad you found it useful Askformore :-)
Apr 25, 2013 7:51pm
Very interesting. On a side note, if you put a bay leave in pantry shelves or drawers, you will keep out ants and roaches, etc. Thanks for your post.
May 25, 2013 9:30am
Thanks for sharing that Wildlily. I don't like using pesticides with ants. I'll try it.
May 25, 2013 10:41am
Hello Nikon: great article and informative and...for me memory making. I had a mom that cooked just about everything with bay leaves in it including stews and yep spaghetti. 2 big thumbs up from me.
Jun 7, 2013 10:11am
I use a lot of bay leaves in certain things because they really do a lot for the dish. I didn't know of the California one, so thanks for this article.
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