Bay Leaf

An aromatic leaf from the evergreen bay laurel tree used for seasoning foods. The tree from which the Bay Leaves are harvested is native to Mediterranean regions, but grown in the U.S. and other countries as well. When the fresh leaves are processed, they are typically dried before being sold either as a whole leaf or as a ground powder. Mediterranean Bay Leaves are pale green and mild tasting. Leaves from the U.S. (generally from California) are deep green in color and provide a strong aroma with a distinct herb flavor.

Bay Leaves provide a rich flavoring to many vegetable dishes, meat dishes, soups, and stews with only one or two necessary for many recipes due to their potent flavor. Typically, Bay Leaves are removed before the dish is served however, when added to marinades of food rubs, the leaves are crumbled into fine pieces and not removed before serving. If too many leaves or crumbled pieces are added, the food will have a bitter or sour flavor instead of an even herb-flavored taste. Fresh Bay Leaves will provide more flavor than the dried varieties, especially if the dried leaves have been stored at room temperature on the shelf.

Store Bay Leaves in an airtight container away from heat and light. To retain the most flavor, use whole leaves within a year or powdered leaves with several months. Placing Bay Leaves in an airtight container or bag and then in the freezer will not only lengthen the amount of time they can be stored, but will also retain more of the flavor of the leaf.

USDA Nutrition Facts


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