|The three distinct leaves of the Sassafras tree.|
Sassafras has long been known as a medicinal herb used by American Indians for hundreds of years. The leaves, roots and oils of the Sassafras can all be used for a variety of conditions. Today, I am going to cover one way we harvest and use the Sassafras leaves. We turn them to powder and use it as many people do in Creole cooking.
When Sassafras leaves are dried and ground up into powder, it is called file' or gumbo file' which is a thickener for soups and gumbos and to add flavor to them. It adds a bit of a spicy flavor. Just add it in once you begin to simmer your soup or gumbo. It is best not to boil it but let the flavors emerge from simmering.
To make the powder, just gather up a few handfuls of leaves and rinse them off. Pat dry and lay them on them on your dehydrator trays. Turn on the dehydrator and let the leaves dehydrate for about 4 hours. Once they are dry, they crumble very easily. Place them in a food processor or use a Magic Bullet (like I do) and pulse the leaves until they turn into a fine powder. Pour into a mason jar and store the Sassafras powder until you are ready to use it.
|Sassafras powder (aka gumbo file')|