Bay Leaf


Bay Leaves are obtained from the Bay tree, an evergreen plant whose leaves can be picked year round. These leaves are usually dried and the flavourful oils which they contain are used to impart a unique taste to teas, soups, stews and casseroles.
Dried bay leaves are commonly used in Biryani Dishes and in Garam masala. Fresh bay leaves are not common.
Crushed bay leaf applied to the skin is believed to be very useful in speeding the healing process of burns and bruises.


Other names: Laurel, Bay, Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, Sweet Laurel
Translations: Lauru lapa, Lauro lapų, Bay frunze, Lovorov list, Laurierblad, बे पत्ती, Лавровый лист, خليج ليف, 베이 리프, Bobkový list, Teluk Daun, Bay talulot, 贝伊利夫, Full de Laurel, Lovorov list, Bobkový list, Foglia di alloro, מפרץ העלה, LAGERBÄRSBLAD, Ловоров лист, ベイリーフ, Feuille de laurier, Hoja de Laurel, Лавровий лист, Laakerinlehti, Дафинов лист

Physical Description

The bay leaf is oval shaped, smooth and slightly pointed. A fresh leaf is smooth, shiny and dark green. the dried bay leaf takes on an olive green color.

Colors: Dark green to olive green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Bitter
Mouthfeel: Earthy, Aromatic
Food complements: Fish, Meat, Poultry, Soups, Sauce, Stew
Wine complements: Red wine, Cabernet savignon, Merlot, Zinfandel
Beverage complements: Beer
Substitutes: Fresh bay leave, Crushed dried bay leaf

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Look for fresh bay leaves that are shiny and dark green. Dried leaves should be olive green in color. Avoid brown laurel leaves since they will have lost most of it's flavor.

Keep out of light in airtight containers, and he whole leave will retain its flavor for more than two years.

Buying: Dried Bay Leaves can be found at almost any market. Fresh Bay Leaves are much more difficult to find, and are not widely commercially available. Check for fresh leaves at your local farmer's market.
Procuring: Grown successfully in Mediterranean-like climates, the Bay is a hardy evergreen shrub that grows wild or cultivated. In warm areas it can grow as high as 18 m (60 ft). Inconspicuous white flowers arrive in clusters, in May. The fruits are small, red-blue single-seeded berries that later turn black about 12 mm (1/2 in) in size. Propagation is best accomplished with the cuttings from shoots. Leaves can be harvested at any time.

Preparation and Use

Bay leaves are used whole or can be added in a boquet garnis used in soups or stews.

Bay leaves are best known in bouquets garnis or used similarly in soups, sauces, stews, daubes and courts-bouillon's, an appropriate seasoning for fish, meat and poultry.

Bay leaf is also often included as a pickling spice.

Cleaning: Fresh bay leaves should be rinsed before using.

Conserving and Storing

Bay leaves can keep for over two years if kept in an airtight container and away from light.


Bay, or laurel, was famed in ancient Greece and Rome. Emperors, heroes and poets wore wreaths of laurel leaves.

The Greek word for laurel is dhafni, named for the myth of the nymph Daphne, who was changed into a laurel tree by Gaea, who transformed her to help her escape Apollo’s attempted rape. Apollo made the tree sacred and thus it became a symbol of honour.

The association with honour and glory continue today; we have poet laureates (Apollo was the God of poets), and bacca-laureate means “laurel berries” which signifies the completion of a bachelor degree. Doctors were also crowned with laurel, which was considered a cure-all.

Triumphant athletes of ancient Greece were awarded laurel garlands and was given to winners at Olympic games since 776 BC Today, grand prix winners are bedecked with laurel wreaths.

It was also believed that the laurel provided safety from the deities responsible for thunder and lightning.

History: The bay tree is indigenous to Asia Minor, from where it spread to the Mediterranean and then to other countries with similar climates.



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