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Bay Leaves

Information for Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are known for their unique aroma and flavor. The leaves come from the evergreen tree or shrub of the Bay Laurel plant family, Lauraceae and are native to the regions of Asia Minor and then spread to the Mediterranean. The Bay Leaf tree was considered sacred in ancient Greek and Roman cultures. It was venerated as a symbol of honor among ancient war heroes, statesmen, and lyricists.

Common names of a Bay Leaf include bay tree, true laurel, sweet bay, Grecian laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel. The Bay Leaf plant features shiny green leaves with light yellow-green flowers and glossy black berry fruits. The leaves are often used as herbs in American and European cooking.

The taste of whole bay leaves is described to be sharp and heady, with a bitter aftertaste. When crushed or dried, bay leaves exhibit a floral and verdant fragrance. Before cooking, the leaves can be crushed or grounded. Then, they are left immersed in liquid before serving as an herb accompaniment to dishes.

A well-known dish that contains bay leaves is the French bouquet garnis. They are also used regularly in preparing sauces, stews, teas, stuffing, fillings, and marinades. They even provide that kick when added to bland vegetables. Furthermore, the overpowering vapor of crushed bay leaves is used as meal moth repellents and mold growth inhibitors.

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