Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis)
Bay leaf refers to the leaf or leaves from the bay tree. The bay leaf is used for cooking as it has distinct flavours and aromas. These leaves are normally used as a dried herb because the flavour is more profound. The green fresh leaves do not carry much flavour.
This herb leaf is commonly used in stews, soups and sauces but can also be used in a variety of wet dishes to add flavour when cooking.
Where to find bay leaves? They are a very common herb and can be found readily available on the internet. You can buy this herb in jars or packets.
Diabetes- According to studies this herb is shown to be effective in treating type 2 diabetes, as it lowers glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Health benefits- Has many health benefits as it has high phytochemical properties which amongst others has salicylate compounds, this is shown in the form of caffeic acid which is known for its antioxidant properties. It is claimed to have benefits of anti inflammatory, anticancer and antiviral abilities.
Vitamins- A, C, Folates, Niacin, Pyridoxine and Riboflavin.
Minerals- Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Manganese, Selenium and Copper.
I personally like to use bay leaves when I am cooking a tasty stew in the slow cooker, I find slow cooker great as it can be loaded up say in the morning and when you come home in the evening from a long days work your meal is ready and waiting for you! But equally can be used in a stew cooked in the oven.
Don’t forget to remove the Bay leaves before serving your food because this can cause a choking hazard and really does not taste so great if you put it into your mouth and chew!
Below is a favourite slow cooker stew recipe, I like to add some fresh steamed potatoes to this dish after its cooked, i would cook these 30 minutes before serving the stew.
For my recipe below you will need a slow cooker.
Serves 4-5 people
800 grams of braising steak
1/4 Cup of flour
1/4 Table spoon black pepper
1/2 Table spoon of sea salt
1 Table spoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves of garlic crushed/fine chopped
1 Large onion diced
1 Large carrot diced
1/2 A small swede (Rutabga) diced
1/2 A celery stalk diced
500 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
1/2 table spoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 table spoon chopped fresh sage
1 Cup red wine
1/4 Tablespoon sea salt
2 bay leaves
Combine the flour, sea salt and the black pepper in a bowl.
Take your meat and rub the flour mix all over it making sure it's completely covered.
Heat a large frying pan and add the oil, then brown the meat on all sides and place into the slow cooker.
Add your onion, garlic and vegetables with the canned tomatoes, wine, chopped parsley, chopped sage , bay leaves and finally the 1/4 tablespoon of salt.
Cook this for 8 hours and serve.