Botanical Name: Sassafras albidum

Other Names: sassafras leaves, gumbo file'

Description: Ground sassafras leaves. Commonly used in Creole and Cajun dishes, both for its flavor and thickening properties. Sassafras leaves do not contain safrole, the carcinogen found in the roots and bark of the tree. Unless sold in a safrole-free form, the roots, bark and extracts made from them may not be sold as food in the USA. Since file' is naturally safrole-free, there is no restriction on its sale and it can be found in most supermarkets in the spice or fish section.

Basic Cooking Instructions: File' should be added to a dish near the end of cooking, as it tends to get tough and stringy with prolonged cooking.

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Contributed by: Michelle Dick