The fragrant and aromatic bay leaf can be used in many ways both inside and outside the kitchen: Let’s see how you can make the most of its numerous properties.
Bay leaf is one of the oldest and most widespread plants throughout the Mediterranean, a symbol of glory and wisdom, especially associated with the history of the Greeks and Romans. Laurus nobilis belongs to the Lauraceae family and has many beneficial properties: Bay leaf is useful for stimulating digestion and combating flu symptoms, and it’s also a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Inside and outside the kitchen, this fragrant and aromatic plant is frequently used: whether preparing digestive teas or eliminating bad odors, preparing tasty dishes, or keeping food insects at bay, we can use the leaves in a variety of ways. Let’s see them all.
- Herbal Tea for Digestion Among its numerous properties, bay leaf can reduce bloating and stimulate digestion: That’s why it is recommended for abdominal swelling and reflux. How can you harness the power of this plant? With a delicious herbal tea: Boil water with a few leaves (fresh or dried) and a lemon peel for a few minutes, strain it and serve while still hot.
- Eliminate Odors With simple bay leaves, we can create an effective and completely natural air freshener and odor eliminator for spaces. Take the leaves and let them boil for about ten minutes with some lemon peel, letting the scent eliminate bad kitchen odors, especially after frying. Alternatively, we can place dried leaves in the refrigerator or on running radiators: In both cases, after a few days, they absorb bad odors and release a pleasant fresh aroma.
- Flavored Oil What if we were to use the scent and aroma of bay leaf to flavor our dishes? Making a tasty flavored oil is possible and very simple. Take a few bay leaves, some sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary, and a garlic clove: Let them steep in a jar of extra virgin olive oil for two or three days. Once the time is up, all we need to do is strain and store our oil.
- Dishes and Recipes Bay leaf also has a significant place in gastronomy, especially in some regional traditions. In Sicilian cuisine, bay leaf, thanks to its aroma and intense fragrance, is often used in fish dishes like swordfish rolls or Beccafico sardines. In sauces, gravies, and broths, bay leaf can add a fragrant aftertaste, a sharp and fresh digestif that’s easy to prepare.
- Repellent against Food Moths and Butterflies Bay leaf has repellent properties and is especially useful when we want to naturally fight food moths and butterflies. To keep flour, pasta, and dry foods fresh for longer, simply place bay leaves (dried or fresh) on the pantry shelves, and their scent will keep unwanted guests away.