Cretan Bay Laurel Leaves (Laurus Nobilis)
Bay leaves are found on a group of evergreen plants known as the Lauraceae family. They grow on the old tree Laurus nobilis, which is indigenous to the Mediterranean area. These plants produce aromatic leaves that are used in cooking and for other purposes.
This herb has been around for generations and has been used for both medical and flavoring purposes. The baby leaf has a delicate fragrance, a herbal and flowery perfume, and a somewhat bitter taste. The aroma and flavor are derived from the essential oil of the plant.
Bay leaf does have some amazing health benefits, such as reducing gas and bloating and preventing free radical damage due to its antioxidants. There is also some evidence that it may aid in the treatment of dandruff, muscular and joint discomfort, and skin infections.
In cooking, it is used to provide a unique, savory flavor and aroma to meats, soups, and stews. Because entire leaves can be a choking hazard, they are removed, before serving, from recipes such as sauces, rice dishes, and soups, although their flavor remains.
Start with small amounts if you're new to cooking with this herb at home. You can use whole or powdered bay leaves, or break them in half. Bay leaf is considered to have a greater scent than taste, which is why it is not often consumed. Instead, it is gently steeped to produce tea or flavor sauces, burnt for its aroma, and utilized in various ways.
◉ Should be stored in airtight glass containers -in a cool, dark, and dry place- to preserve the flavor, texture, and properties.