Bay Leaf
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The true Bay Leaf, we find in kitchens, should be the fragrant leaf of the evergreen Bay Laurel tree.

In Greek and Roman times, Bay leaves were worn as a symbol of honor. As legend has it, putting a Bay Leaf under your pillow on Valentine’s Day would cause the sleeper to dream of their future spouse.

In addition to many culinary uses, Bay Leaves (dried or extracted oil) are also useful in herbal remedies, perfumes and cleaning supplies.

Season

Fresh Bay Leaves are best picked in the Summer.

Availability

Bay Leaves are available year long.

Cultivation

Production

Varieties

Purchasing

Be careful when shopping for Bay Leaves. You might find California Bay Leaves, Indian Bay Leaves and/or Indonesian Bay Leaves among the imposters. The imposters can be weeded out, by a careful reading of the package label and by the less distinct odor of an imposter. Some other species of Bay Leaf can be toxic, but those leaves are not normally available in grocery stores.

Storage

Fresh Bay Leaves should be stored frozen. If stofing frozen, the fresh Bay Leaves will keep for approximately 2-3 months without any flavor loss.

Store dried Bay Leaves in a well sealed container in the pantry. Dried Bay Leaves stored in the pantry, will last approximately 1-2 years.

Culinary Uses

The Bay Leaf is considered a pungent spice and is generally used to flavor savory dishes.

When first harvested Bay Leaves are not flavorful or even very aromatic. They must be dried to bring out their signature Oregano-like aroma. Even then, as with Truffles, most of the Bay Leaf's culinary power comes from its aroma and not its mild bitter taste.

Not surprisingly, with its classic Greek & Roman symbolism, Bay Laurel Leaves are popular in Mediterranean and European dishes. They are also well used in Indian and Pakistani Cuisine.

In the kitchen, Bay Leaves are typically thrown into a dish whole to flavor it but then removed before service because the Bay Leaf is a Tough Chew. Think of using a Bay Leaf to flavor a dish similarly to a tea bag flavoring water and you won't go far wrong with its use. Because Grinding the leaves intensifies their flavor, some chefs use ground and dried Bay Leaves (contained in a muslin bag or tied-off  cheesecloth)  in their cooking. In this form, the tea bag analogy is even more apt. Generally, whole Bay Leaves are used but not served.

Dried Bay Leaves are a popular additive to Pâtés, Soups, Seafood, Stews and Braises.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 Bay Leaves per recipe.

Pairings

Chestnuts, Allspice, Celery Leaf, Juniper BerriesMarjoram, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Thyme, Vanilla, Cauliflower, Corn, Garlic, Onions, Parsley, PeppersPotatoes, Pumpkin, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Apples, Dates, Figs, Lemons, Pears, Strawberries, Beef, Chicken, Duck, Fish, Game, Game Birds, Lamb, Meats, Pork, Poultry, Shellfish, Shrimp, Turkey, Cream, Beans, Lentils, Mole Sauce, Rice, Vinegars, Braising, MarinadesSauces, Soups, StewingStocks

Nutritional Value USDA
SPICES,BAY LEAF
Amount Per 100g
Calories 313
%Daily Value*
 
12%
Total Fat 8g
1%
Saturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
1%
Sodium 23mg
11%
Potassium 529mg
24%
Total Carbohydrate 74g
104%
Dietary Fiber 26g
Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes