Bay leaves are scented leaves that are used mainly for cooking purposes, just like herbs. We can use them in their fresh or dried form. Bay leaves are used in cooking because of their particular odor and flavor.
Bay leaves are also used as a spice in dishes. Especially in Asia, bay leaves are used in a large amount. Asian people are spice lovers, so it makes a connection.
Bay leaves do not go bad until they are stored in a suitable environment and temperature. They give the same aroma even if they are used after years. They generally lose their fragrance as time passes after two to three years.
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How to store bay leaves?
Bay leaves are a convenient spice to have in your kitchen, it’s important to store them properly to guarantee the best quality. Storing bay leaves for a long time is not difficult. The shelf life of bay leaves is quite long.
The bay leaves are just like oregano or parsley. We know that these types of spices absorb moisture. Moisture makes the spices go bad, so we have to be careful. Following are the ways to preserve bay leaves, whether in their fresh form or in dried form.
If you want to store bay leaves in their fresh form, refrigerate them immediately because this is the only way to keep them fresh. Fresh bay leaves have a very light fragrance. They do not give their full flavor until they are kept for some time.
So, it’s recommended to keep them in the refrigerator. In this way, you can enjoy the real aroma and flavor of the bay leaves.
In your pantry
If you want to use the bay leaves for a long time, you must dry them first. Wash them carefully and spread them on any napkin or kitchen towel.
After the wait of two to three days, they will be in their dried form. Then you have to collect all the leaves and put them in any jar, container, or bag.
The rule is that the jar should be airtight, and the bad should be zip locked. In this way, the leaves will be protected from moisture. They can be stored for a long time.
Away from Sunlight
Direct Sunlight is not good for spices. Sunlight makes the leaves wilted and bad. And if the leaves are in a powdered form, sunlight makes them soggy. Also, sunlight makes the fragrance of leaves go bad.
So, it is preferred to put the leaves away from Sunlight. The darker and cool the place is, the better it is for the longer lifespan of bay leaves.
Can you freeze bay leaves?
We know that spices like bay leaves lose their aroma if they are placed at normal temperature. If you want a long-lasting taste and fragrance of bay leaves, go for freezing them. Make sure that the leaves are dry and free of moisture.
Take any freezer bag or an airtight jar or container. Put the leaves in it, and you can freeze them for years. The leaves won’t lose their fragrance till two years. You will experience the same taste and fragrance even after years. In short, the best way to increase the lifespan of bay leaves is to freeze them.
How long do bay leaves last?
The shelf life of bay leaves is quite long. They do not get worse, but the potency of their fragrance lessens. The period for its lasting depends on the storage conditions. If the leaves are fresh and are in a refrigerator, they last for one to two months.
If the leaves are in their dried form and are kept in air tight containers in the pantry, they last for eight to nine months. And lastly, if the bay leaves are kept in the freezer, they last for one to two years. Make sure to store them properly, and trust me, they won’t get bad at all.
How to tell if bay leaves are bad?
Bay leaves generally do not get bad if stored properly. Only their fragrance starts to lose its strength by the passage of time. But if they are not stored properly, they might get worse. Following are some measures that you can follow to see if your bay leaves have gone bad.
- Bad Appearance: If the fresh bay leaves turn wilted and the physical appearance does not look good, waste them right away. If the fresh bay leaves are other than green, they are not good and able to use.
- Bad Smell: If the aroma of the bay leaves is intense and not good, then do not use them.
- Check for Insects: If the fresh bay leaves have holes in them, then they might get interacted with some insects. Do not use these types of leaves either.
- Check for molds: If the bay leaves have mold or some bacterial activity, then they have gone bad.
What does Bay Leaf Look Like?
The looks of Bay Leaves depend on its type, just like Basil. The Turkish Bay Leaf has comparatively fat leaves with short leaves. While the Californian type of Bay Leaf has thin and long leaves. But normally, Fresh Bay Leaves have a shiny green color top and a paler green underside. However, the dried form has a little different color. When these leaves are dried, they turn into comparatively dull colors.
Moreover, the Indian Bay Leaves have light or medium green colors. That is different from other Bay Leaves. Besides, it has larger leaves which are almost twice the length of other leaves.
Where does Bay Leaf Come From?
The Bay Leaves are normally made of laurel plants. This plant has an evergreen shrub. It grows in a warm climate. Moreover, the California Bay Leaves come from California Bay Tree, also famous as California Laurel. This plant resembles the Mediterranean Bay Laurel that produces Turkish Bay Leaves.
How is Bay Leaf Made?
Bay Leaves are made like other herbs and plants. They are grown using seeds, they are watered, and once they grow completely, the leaves are harvested. And you get fresh Bay Leaves to use. However, for dry form, you have to follow some procedures. It is easy. And you can easily make dry Bay Leaves in your home too. And we will tell you how. Firstly, harvest the leaves once they are fully grown.
The best season for picking the leaves is mid-summer. Then you should select the undamaged leaves. Then, wash and rinse the leaves in cool water. Use a paper towel and put the leaves on it. Afterward, leave the Bay Leaves in dry and warm temperatures and let them completely dry. It usually takes two weeks to completely dry. And then, you can use a blender to transform it into powder form.
What Does Bay Leaf Taste Like?
You cannot eat Bay Leaves. So, you cannot determine the exact taste of these leaves. It brings different tastes into different recipes. Besides, some chefs have also argued that it does not have any taste. It just adds a little aroma to the dish.
How is Bay Leaf Used in Cooking?
Bay Leaves are hard. They do not get soft even if you cook them. To use these leaves while cooking, you should add them while cooking. Let it mix well in your recipe and release its flavor. However, make sure to take the whole form of Bay Leaf out once the dish is fully cooked. That’s because of its sharp points, which can easily cut the mouth or even cause choking.
What Types of Cuisines Use Bay Leaf?
Bay Leaves are used in various cuisines, especially rice. People mostly add it while boiling the rice. Some major cuisines that include Bay Leaf are Indian, Thai, French, and Spanish. It is mostly used with meat like turkey.
What is a Bay Leaf Substitute?
Though Bay Leaf is considered a unique herb, it also has substitutes. So, if you are out of these leaves, you can try out their substitutes. The list includes oregano, dried thyme, basil, and juniper berries. So, next time when you don’t find Bay Leaves, use them.
Where to Buy Bay Leaf?
If you want to have some high-quality Bay Leaves, then we have some good suggestions for you. In the following paragraphs, we have listed some top Bay Leaves.
- Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Bay Leaves, Whole, 0.25 Ounces
- Gel Spice Turkish Bay Leaves, Commercial Kitchen Size – 8.5 OZ
- Soeos Bay Leaves 2oz, NON-GMO Verified, Bay Laurel Leaf, Dried Bay Leaves, Whole Bay Leave, Bay Leaf Herbs for cooking.
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