Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf of the bay laurel.
– Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance.
– The leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pates in Mediterranean cuisine.
– The fresh leaves are very mild.
– They do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.
– If eaten whole, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste.
– When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral.
– The smell is somewhat similar to oregano and thyme.
– Myrcene, which is a component of many essential oils used in perfumery, can be extracted from the bay leaf.
– They also contain the essential oil eugenol.
– Bay leaves are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes.
– The leaves also flavor many classic French dishes.
– In Indian and Pakistani cuisine, bay leaves are sometimes used in place of Indian bay leaf.
– They are most often used in rice dishes like biryani and as an ingredient in garam masala.
– Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground before cooking.
– Bay leaves can also be scattered in a pantry to repel meal moths, flies, roaches, and silverfish.
– In the Middle Ages, bay leaves were believed to induce abortions.
– They are useful for treating high blood sugar, migraine headaches, bacterial and fungal infections, and gastric ulcers.
– Bay leaves and berries have been used for their astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic and stomachic properties.
– Bay oil is used in liniments for bruises and sprains.
– Bay leaf has been used as an herbal remedy for headaches.
– Bay leaf has also been shown to help the body process insulin more efficiently.
– Bay leaf is also an antifungal and antibacterial, and has also been used to treat rheumatism, amenorrhea, and colic.
Growing/Caring conditions for Bay Leaf
• Purchase a small bay laurel tree.
• Growing bay leaf from a seed is difficult; it can take up to six months.
• Growing from a cutting is also very challenging.
• Plant your bay leaf tree outside if you live in zones 8 to 11.
• Keep your tree protected from strong winds.
• Offer it partial shade, if the weather is too hot.
• Bay leaf loves full sunlight.
• Offer outdoor plants extra protection from frost in the winter by wrapping the plant to protect it.
• Putting hay on the ground by the roots will also provide warmth.
• If your bay leaf is exposed to frost, chances are the leaves will turn brown.
• Trim the plant to six inches above the soil.
• It will sprout come spring.
• Keep the soil well drained.
• Fertilize your bay leaf about twice a year.
• Give it lots of good composted soil.
• Let the tree dry out between watering.
• Over watering will damage the plant.
• Prune your tree in spring to keep it under control.
• Bay trees are not picky about soil as long as it’s well-drained.
• It will tolerate a range of pH levels from 4.5 to 8.3.
• It prefers its soil on the sandy side.
• When transplanting a bay sapling, mix three parts of soil-based compost with one part sand.
• Do not allow the roots to stay wet for long periods or root rot may set in.
• Bay is somewhat drought tolerant.
• In early to mid spring, prune the tree back.