With a long history of culinary and medicinal uses, bay leaves are thought to have digestive properties and also act as an appetite stimulant. The Turkish bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) is generally preferred over its California cousin for its subtler, less mentholated taste, and it is also more healthful to consume. Bay leaves are used to flavor a wide variety of soups, stews, stocks, sauces, marinades, meats, and fish. In terms of flavor, fresh leaves go further than dried (1 fresh leaf = 2 dried). Let leaves wilt slightly before using to avoid bitterness, and remove whole bay leaves from food before serving.
Turkish Bay Leaves
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