Bay leaves Bay leaves are the leaves of the laurel tree that are used dried or fresh mostly as a seasoning herb. The leaves are available in various forms but most popular are fresh or dried used as a whole or ground into a powder. They are commonly used as a seasoning for various kinds of dishes such as soups, sauces, and stews. Their taste resembles the taste of oregano and thyme. Bay leaves are used more often than any other herb while cooking.
The Laurel plant is an evergreen shrub that occurs naturally in warm climates countries. It is often grown for its ornamental use and well as the source of bay leaves, a common seasoning herb. The leaves are leathery and thick and characterized by their pointy ends. Dried leaves are much stronger in scent than fresh ones. There are two main varieties of bay leaves the Mediterranean and the Californian. The Mediterranean is most common and has a slightly different taste, with a note of mint in its scent. Other varieties can be found all over the world for example in India, China, and Turkey. Fresh leaves are shiny green on top and pale green on the bottom. When they dry, the color becomes uniform and faded. Drying intensifies their flavor.
Bay leaves are known for centuries and were used even in Ancient times. They were a symbol of success and honor that’s why they were often worn by emperors, Olympians, heroes, poets, and scholars. They are quite common in the history of ancient Greece and Rome.
Fresh leaves can be found packed in sealed backs and stored in cold places for up to two weeks. The dried leaves can be stored for up to years without losing their flavor and taste in a sealed dry container in a dry, cool, and dark spot. They can also be stored in a freezer in order to retain their floral and flavor potency.
The largest production of bay leaves takes place in several different countries across the world. The largest producers are the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Italy, France the UK, Spain, India, New Zealand, and North Africa, The leaves are mostly used in three economic sectors: food, medicine, and cosmetics.