Bay Leaf: How to Use, Cook & Store

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This century old herb has been used to treat a variety of ailments and to treat infections.

Health Benefits

While most of these traditional uses have yet to be validated by science, modern research suggests that the bay leaf can help control diabetes and reduce risks of heart disease.

Diabetic patients who were given ground bay leaf for a month experienced improved glycemia as well as reduced levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

But that’s not all, bay leaf may also speed up wound healing. Researchers found that bay leaf extract possesses antimicrobial activities.

How to Use, Cook & Store Bay Leaves

Taste: woody, sweet

Get the most out of this herb: Use fresh, bright green bay leaves as far as possible since the dried form isn’t that effective.

Great in: Long cooking draws out its aroma and so is great for braising and in stews, soups, stocks and risottos. Add a bay leaf to poaching liquid for fish or the milk for custard or rice pudding.

Prep like this: You don’t need to pound or crush bay leaf before adding it to a dish, just add the whole leaf. But remove whole bay leaves from the dish before serving.

Store like this: In a well sealed container. Dried bay leaves will last about two years before losing their aroma.

2 sources

  1. Khan, A., Zaman, G., & Anderson, R. A. (2009). Bay leaves improve glucose and lipid profile of people with Type 2 diabetes. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 44(1), 52.
  2. Fukuyama, N., Ino, C., Suzuki, Y., Kobayashi, N., Hamamoto, H., Sekimizu, K., & Orihara, Y. (2011). Antimicrobial sesquiterpenoids from Laurus nobilis L. Natural product research, 25(14), 1295-1303.


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