eating bay leaves?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phoebe, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    A friend of ours made us a pot of mustard because we loved his last one. He varied his recipe and this time included a couple of bay leaves that, after they were simmered with the vinegar and other seasonings, were blended in with some additional ingredients in a food processor.
    But I've always heard that bay leaves should only be used to flavor a sauce (or whatever) and then removed, Not eaten. :eek:
    Can we use his mustard safely? :confused:
     
  2. anneke

    anneke

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    Phoebe,

    I don't think we'd be cooking with them if they were toxic so I wouldn't worry about that. I think the only danger is that if they aren't ground up properly, they can be difficult to swallow/digest or even be a choking hazard.

    Indians have been grinding them in their garam masala for a long time so don't worry!
     
  3. cape chef

    cape chef

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    This is true,

    Enjoy.......just be sure the Laural is removed or finely ground into the mixture.
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I have ground up bay leaves on a number of occasions and used them in a dish without straining them out. As Anneke said, removing them is done more for other reasons. They don't taste particularly good biting into a full leaf. They are awfully tough, and not very pleasant to chew and swallow. They don't look particularly attractive sitting in your butter sauce on the plate. Luckily, bay loves to give up its flavor in a simmering liquid so there is no real need to serve them to someone. But again, not harmful, if swallowed, at least that I know of.
     
  5. suzanne

    suzanne

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    They do not break down easily in the digestive system. If ground up well, no harm to them at all. But yes, bigger pieces and whole ones are very sharp, and can cut your insides. :(
     
  6. anneke

    anneke

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    Bah! What's a little appendicitis among friends?
     
  7. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Danger:

    Fragments of bay leaves as well as egg shells have been known to lacerate the intestines.
     
  8. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Worse than that, I know a woman whose fiance died after choking on a bay leaf.
     
  9. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Wow, that settles THAT!
     
  10. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Ooooh, uh oh. :eek:
    Well, he did run it through the food processor, but it does have a kind of chunky texture. Maybe I'll just be sure to chew it really well? :rolleyes: And I thought toxins were the problem!
     
  11. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    IT'S NOT TOXINS, IT'S MECHANICAL DAMAGE THAT I'M CITING. Yes, I am yelling to convey my point, DON'T DO IT.:rolleyes:
     
  12. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Bay leaves must either remain whole, cracked, or ground into a FINE POWDER. Nothing intermediate is allowed; it's dangerous. Do you understand, Phoebe?
     
  13. phoebe

    phoebe

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    friend kokopuffs,
    I didn't mean any offence or sarcasm, and I am terribly sorry if it at all seemed that way. I truly am surprised, that's all. And I don't plan to risk my health over some mustard, I assure you. thank you and everyone else for the warnings.
     
  14. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    No offense taken nor did I detect sarcasm. It seemed as though you dismissed bay leaf's potential for serious damage. For me it's also CYA (CMA, here) being a health professional.
     
  15. thebighat

    thebighat

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    She actually had a letter published in Fine Cooking about it, warning people of the dangers of eating a whole bay leaf. Poor Doris....
     
  16. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Phoebe -- can you strain out the pieces of bay leaf? If there are other chunky bits you might have to mash them, but at least you'll get the flavor without the danger.