Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Cooking with Avocado Leaves
Did you know you can cook with the LEAVES of certain avocado trees? Not all of them -- but a certain species or two. Chef's use the leaves to wrap meats such as pork or beef and steam cook them or put them on the BBQ for a moist, tender meat, infused with the slightly-spicy flavor of anise.
You can also use the dried leaves as a spice, much like a bay leaf (avocado trees are related to bay laurel trees). Add them to beans as they cook for a very unique, authentic Mexican flavor. (We have the recipe on our site). Consider adding them to your next stew or crock pot meal for an unique flavor that will have your family and friends asking for the recipe!
Another way to use dried avocado leaves is as a tea or infusion. The leaves have been used since ancient times to help with tummy troubles and other intestinal issues (cleansing the liver or kidneys).
Now don't think you can just go out and grab those leaves off your ground and start grinding them up. The specific kind of leaf is harvested from the native Mexican avocado "Peresea drymifolia". The leaves are used both fresh as well as dried and impart a beautiful color to boiling water. Boil water and put the leaves in (a small handful) and let steep for 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink. I like to add a nice teaspoon of avocado blossom honey as well!
People from islands (like Hawaii and the Philippines) drink the tea to help with UTIs - and comment that it brings a nice, calming effect.
So the next time you are wondering what ELSE the avocado offers -- think about not only the fruit, but it's leaves as well!