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Bay leaves: useful, or wishful thinking?


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10 hours ago, Elkyfr said:

I used dried bay in only 1 recipe in my live... and this the most popular food in my town, a tuna stew with potatoes and laurel.

Interesting. I rummaged around and found an ancient McCormick jar of bay leaves (I'd toss but if step mom shows up she will consider me a wasteful @#$ though she never uses herbs).  A suggested use on the label is to add a couple bay leaves when boiling potatoes for mashed - remove before mashing.

 

On the fresh - pre Google my mom got some California bay leaves from her friend - fresh from the bush. She put one or two into long simmered meat sauce. We were all bay traumatized for a while. 

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II buy cheap dried bay leaves in the Mexican seasoning department.   Always add as part of a bouquet garni (dried bay leaf, fresh parsley and thyme tied together with string for easy removal) in meat braises,  , in beans and split peas, in potato soup, chili, Mexican sauces.     About 2" of leaf is enough.

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eGullet member #80.

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18 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

II buy cheap dried bay leaves in the Mexican seasoning department.   

Not only are those seasoning packets cheap - they also tend to be fresher than the stuff in the mainstream spice aisle. 

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I had recently gotten some organic California bay leaves (dried) from a seller on Etsy and they were much more fragrant than what I had gotten previously from the supermarket. I definitely noticed the difference in flavor when I made lentil soup.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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i tend to grind my own and the smell alone tells me how potent new bay can be. i like to blend it with dairy and strain before making ice creams or custards.

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On 1/18/2021 at 1:44 PM, heidih said:

We were all bay traumatized for a while. 

I heard/read somewhere Julia Child saying, "California bay leaves are TOO STRONG!"

 

It disturbs me that I can't quite remember the source of this (would've had to be a recording for me to hear it in her voice) -- but that's another thread . . . .

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On 1/18/2021 at 2:40 PM, Katie Meadow said:

CA Bay Laurel is harsher. Turkish are better. I think most all dried bay leaves from spice stores are Turkish, no? 

 

If a vendor doesn't say otherwise, it's almost always Turkish bay. "Spice Islands" is the only widely-available brand I'm aware of whose bay leaves are California bay laurel, and it would be nice if they clearly labelled it as such, but they don't. I have no problem cooking with either; I just use far less when it's California.

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Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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