Bay leaves are generally used in flavoring many kinds of braises, pâtés, soups and stews. The leaves provide a kind of unique flavor in the dish in which it is added. Uses of this leaf in the Indian subcontinent and Mediterranean are just extraordinary.
Bay leaf is native to Asia Minor. Later it spread to other continents having same climate conditions. Today, bay leaf plants are cultivated in countries like India, Italy, France, Turkey, Belgium and North and Central parts of America. Turkey is known to be the biggest exporter of bay leaves. There are three types of bay leaves which are mostly used, namely, Indian bay leaf, Indonesia bay leaf and California bay leaf. All these varieties vary in flavor and in taste.
Raw bay leaves taste sharp and bitter and leave a strong aroma. There are many French recipes that cannot be made without bay leaves. Many compare this leaf with other herbs like oregano and thyme which are totally a different species. Two popular essential oils Eugenol and Myrcene are made from bay leaves.
Bay leaf can be the only substituted for bay leaf. But still, at times people do not find bay leaf as it is desired. Therefore they look for proper Bay leaf substitute . Crushed bay leaf can be used instead of whole bay leaf. Ground bay leaf can also be used as a substitute of whole Bay leaf . Other bay leaf species can also be used, such as California bay leaf or Indonesian bay leaf can be used for Indian bay leaf or vice versa. Boldo leaves, which has strong flavor as bay leaf are also used as a substitute at times. In case of meat recipes, one can also try juniper berries as a substitute.
There is a wide thought that these leaves are toxic and therefore it must not be kept and eaten in the in the cuisine after the cooking is done. This conception probably has come from the fact that this leaf is visually similar to many other species of the same genus which has toxic effects and is not commercially available for culinary uses. Needless to…