Preparing Dishes With The California Bay Leaf

By Grace Rivas

People who use the California Bay leaf admire its flavor. This spice has been known for its usefulness in preparing food for a number of years. It can be applied to many different dishes, both savory and sweet. Children and adults alike love the taste and look forward to it in a wide range of cold and hot desserts as well as main dishes. It is one of the most versatile natural spices available in the United States.

This spice is referred to using a wide range of names. People generally call it by the label that is used wherever they grew up or first encountered it. For example, in some communities chefs speak of it as pepper wood, perhaps as a reference to its spiciness. In other areas, many individuals know it as the Oregon Myrtle or CA Laurel.

These leaves are usually compared to those originating from the Mediterranean. Chefs who are accustomed to the sort that is grown outside North America will probably feel that the latter is overwhelming when they initially experience it. Its bold flavor actually makes you save money since you get an equivalent taste by using less.

Some recipes call for the foreign variety, which are less concentrated. In order to use CA laurel in its place, use a little less than half the amount recommended in the recipe. You will get a rich full bodied flavor and have more spice left over for the next time you cook. Crushing and bending the leaves will also make it easier to release their flavor.

In general, foreign leaves are sold dried and their North American relatives are typically delivered fresh to homes and supermarkets. This difference might be due to a difference in the distance that foreign exports must travel before arriving in the states. However in many homes, nothing beats the delicious flavor of freshly picked CA laurel in stews and soups.

People who prepare meals with this spice often usually purchase a pound or more. It is cheaper to buy it this way and they save in the long run. They get lots of spice when they buy in bulk. In fact, a pound usually contains over seven hundred fresh leaves. You can store these in your refrigerator. Package them in an airtight bag and they will remain flavorful for months.

When you dry the California Bay leaf, as with most herbs and spices, it loses some of its flavor. However some chefs choose to do that because they want the seasoning to last longer. You can dehydrate them by using an oven or even hang them to air dry. The method you use depends on your space and what will be more convenient for you.

People who are seasoning poultry, pork or beef sometimes use the California Bay leaf as a spice in their dish. Make sure that whenever you make use of it, all the leaves are removed before you start serving. Always use them without cutting them up since the small pieces can be difficult to find. The flavor is good with tomatoes and other fruits or vegetables, such as beetroot.

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