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lindag

Bay leaves

10 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Is there really any major difference in the dried and the fresh?

I've only used the dried type but I'm open to finding a plant.  Do you use more of the fresh like other herbs?


Edited by lindag (log)

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Many years ago in England, I had a bay plant. I always felt that, while I liked the plant, the flavour difference was negligible.

 

Here in China, I can buy fresh leaves in the market, but seldom do. The dried are just more convenient.

 

On an aside, I had never associated bay with China till I got here, but it's very common.

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I used to have a bay leaf plant and could not tell the difference between fresh and dried leaves.

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Posted (edited)

I use them fresh all the time.  I have two huge bay "bushes" which were supposed to be "dwarf" and not grow taller than 8 feet.

Ha!  I have had then trimmed when they reached 20' and again near that.

The aroma and flavor is exceptional.  One is a true Laurus Nobilis and the other is a Canary Island Laurus variant but has similar flavor and aroma.  Both were given to me by a friend who worked at the Huntington Gardens when I first moved up here in 1988.

I pick leaves and put them in a wire colander on my kitchen counter until they are completely dry and then I vac seal them and send them to friends.  

They are evergreen so I have a supply of fresh leaves all year although the aroma and flavor is strongest in the late spring. 

I lightly crush two or three leaves to simmer in milk or cream for a custard base - or when I want to make a cream sauce for vegetables.  The flavor is exquisite.  

 

I also save the straight stems when I prune the bushes and use them for skewers and they too impart flavor to meats, chicken, vegetables, etc.

 

The original "trunk" is behind the oldest scions. it is more than 8 inches in diameter just above the ground.

When first planted it was barely an inch in diameter.

5946b7ee86995_ScreenShot2017-06-18at10_17_36AM.thumb.png.faeddb994306e310ad37a0d0d07ec655.png

 

This one has again reached 20' in height and is in the branches of the shade tree.

5946b81fb963e_ScreenShot2017-06-18at10_17_00AM.thumb.png.78bdac5342e10931ff52d05aab14aa20.png

 

This is the Canary Island variant - which was not supposed to survive our winters at this altitude (2800 ft) and the hard freezes but it has survived temps down to 5°F.  Although I protected both the first few years.  

You can see that the leaves are slightly lighter, a bit more yellow in the green and they have "hairy" flower clusters. 

They also produce a lot of very large leaves.  

5946b85218a64_ScreenShot2017-06-18at10_17_18AM.thumb.png.44fc9a59da1cc65452d000251bbc0456.png

 


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Posted (edited)

Wow Andie, impressive because they seem to grow slowly. I have one that is now about 2 m tall and more of a bush, which is fine with me because I'm growing it for the leaves, not for shade.

 

I find the fresh leaves are more delicate and I use more. I think the taste is a bit different. I probably should throw out my old store-bought dried leaves and dry some of my own since I now have enough to harvest.

 

When my family lived in England, the landlady was out front pruning trees and handed my very confused mother a branch as a gift. The landlady finally realised she had to explain that it was bay. I don't think my mother had ever seen it anywhere but in little packs before.


Edited by haresfur (log)
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I sometimes cut out the center rib and put them in the dehydrator sandwiched between two of the "fruit leather drying sheets" until they are crumbly.  I put them in the spice grinder and grind to a fine powder and add just a tiny amount of corn starch.  This can then be "bloomed" in hot oil or butter to toss with vegetables or add to stews, etc.

 

There are commercial spice blends that use it, so why not make your own.  

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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2 hours ago, andiesenji said:

I put them in the spice grinder and grind to a fine powder and add just a tiny amount of corn starch.  This can then be "bloomed" in hot oil or butter to toss with vegetables or add to stews, etc.

 

There are commercial spice blends that use it, so why not make your own.

 

Yes, this works fine.

 

The Betty Crocker Cookbook printed in 1976, which I love otherwise, recommends in their Italian Spaghetti recipe to crumble a dried bay leaf into the meat sauce, but I crossed those instructions out after hearing a story from my ex-SIL who is an occupational therapist. These dried leaves are so hard and sharp, impervious to digestion, that they can actually slice the gastro system. I love the flavor, and I'm very glad to hear that I'm not missing much by no access to the fresh leaves.

 

Just please, if you are using the dried, grind them to a powder as andiesenji says or use them whole and remove them so no one ingests them. This  poor guy my SIL was caring for got peritonitis. You do not want that. You DON'T.

 

I count my dried bay leaves, and keep searching until every one I used has been retrieved and discarded.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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On a side note, the original Art of Eating book proclaimed the large bay leaves bought at Indian markets were superior to the small ones bought everywhere else. I don't use bay often enough to know if its true, but at 10% of the price I've stuck with the larger leaves ever since.

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Posted (edited)

This site has a few spice blends that include ground bay leaves.

 

Many Garam Masala blends include ground bay leaves.

 

Several online vendors sell ground bay leaves.  Years ago, when I was still prepping wild game for the hunters stationed at Edwards, one of the guys who entered barbecue contests used a lot of ground bay leaves in his "secret" rub.  He would come and prune my bushes for me and haul away a huge bundle of stems and leaves.  I sure missed him when he was transferred to another post.  His wife was not a cook, didn't want to learn but liked gardening.  I got her started growing herbs and gave them a couple of scions from my bays.  


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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On 6/19/2017 at 5:06 PM, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

Yes, this works fine.

 

The Betty Crocker Cookbook printed in 1976, which I love otherwise, recommends in their Italian Spaghetti recipe to crumble a dried bay leaf into the meat sauce, but I crossed those instructions out after hearing a story from my ex-SIL who is an occupational therapist. These dried leaves are so hard and sharp, impervious to digestion, that they can actually slice the gastro system. I love the flavor, and I'm very glad to hear that I'm not missing much by no access to the fresh leaves.

 

Just please, if you are using the dried, grind them to a powder as andiesenji says or use them whole and remove them so no one ingests them. This  poor guy my SIL was caring for got peritonitis. You do not want that. You DON'T.

 

I count my dried bay leaves, and keep searching until every one I used has been retrieved and discarded.

 

I guess you don't have the tradition that whoever finds a bay leaf in their food has to kiss the cook :raz:

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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