Bay Leaf Powder - Usage & Health Benefits
Bay Leaf Powder is the dried and ground form of bay leaf, an aromatic leaf of Bay Laurel tree. Native to Asia Minor, there are two varieties of bay leaves namely; the Mediterranean and the Californian bay leaf. The latter has a stronger flavor but, the former is widely used in Mediterranean-style cooking. Like many other spices, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more prominent than it’s taste, Bay leaf can be readily substituted with it’s ground form. Bay leaf powder imparts a more desirable fragrance as compared to the whole leaf, the only disadvantage is that the spice is very strong, and once added it can not be removed. The spice has slightly floral smell along with a sharp, pungent, and bitter taste. Read more to find out about the uses and benefits of the spice, and what makes bay leaf powder so special.
Uses of Bay Leaf Powder
The spice contains a host of volatile compounds and oils like; Myrcene, Eugenol, Lauric acid, etc. that explain its characteristic odor. These are the active components that make bay leaf powder an effective therapeutic agent too.
It is used to impart and enhance flavors of various European, Mediterranean, French, Indian, Pakistani, and North American recipes. It is added to soups, stews, curries, gravies, rice items, meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. It is an ingredient of ‘bouquet garni’ (along with thyme, sage, savory, celery, basil etc.), and many other spice powders like ‘garam masala’. It is also used in the preparation of ‘court bullion’, a readymade preparation of water, white wine, and aromatic vegetable (onion and celery), flavored with bouquet garni, salt, and black pepper. It is an integral part of many basic sauces like bread sauce, tomato sauce, and béchamel. It can also be brewed to make herbal tea.
Bay leaf Powder is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin A, and other B- complex vitamins necessary for enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism. Mineral content of the spice is impressive too. It contains health supporting minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. It is also a potent antimicrobial, antioxidant, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emetic, stomachic, and anti-inflammatory agent.
- It possesses insect repellant properties, used to keep moths, flies and roaches
- It is used to treat dandruff
- It is used in pickling and vinegar preparation
- Oil extracts of the spice are used to make liniments and creams used to treat bruises and sprains
Health Benefits of Bay Leaf Powder
- Relieves respiratory ailments like cold, cough, flu, congestion, chest infections, bronchitis, etc.
- Aids in digestion – especially foods rich in proteins
- Relieves pain and inflammation in joints and back, especially in arthritis and rheumatic arthritis
- Promotes sweating, thereby improving symptoms of flu and fever
- Reduce flatulence
- Soothe stomach ulcers
- Possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties
If you are out of Bay Leaf or can not find it in your area, get to know more about various Bay Leaf Substitutes that can be used for food preparation without compromising the taste or flavor.
Image Credits: ifood.tv