Bay leaves nicely flavour soups and particularly stews. Their nice glossy green colour when fresh makes them a nice garnish. They work well dried, and even better when fresh. Bay leaves are easily dried - just tie a twig of leaves to a hook in your kitchen roof- and last a long time dried.
The bay tree which provides the leaves for cooking is more correctly known as the sweet bay tree. It is unrelated to the bay laurel, whose leaves are poisonous.
Did you know:
- Bay trees can be easily shaped as young plants into topiaries, and can be happily kept in pots for many years as such.
- Bay leaves consumed in sufficient (ie LARGE) quantities can have psychoactive effects. Do some reading into greek prophetesses living in houses thatched with bay leaves and chewing bay leaves all day - they had visions.
see also: other herbs