Bay Leaf

Also called: bay laurel, laurel leaf

Bay leaves come from the bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. Whole leaves are used to season meats, stews, soups and sauces, and are typically removed before serving. Bay leaves are also a component of bouquet garni.

Whole dried bay leaves are widely available, but for real zing, nothing matches fresh bay leaves. If you’ve never used fresh bay leaves before, you’ll be very impressed with their wonderful flavor and aroma. Unfortunately, fresh bay leaves aren’t typically available in supermarkets.

The good news is that small bay laurel trees are popular in nurseries and are very easy to grow, either in containers or in the ground. Slow growing and not at all fussy, bay laurels can be grown in a wide range of climates and are a terrific addition to any culinary garden. In colder climates, plant bay laurels in pots and bring them indoors over the winter.

Pluck fresh bay leaves as you need them, or store dried bay leaves airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

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