The Bay Leaf (Laurus Nobilis) is an aromatic member of Laurel family. Native to Asia minor, cultivation of the Bay Leaf spread through the Mediterranean and areas with similar warm climates. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. California bay leaf – the leaf of the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica, Lauraceae), also known as California laurel, Oregon myrtle, and pepperwood, is similar to the Mediterranean bay laurel, but has a stronger flavor. California Bay leaves have been desribed as "medicinal and potent, having a eucalyptus-like flavor". Turkish Bay leaves on the other hand, are described as described as "mild, green, and slightly clove-like" and with "far superior in nuance and flavor." If eaten whole, bay leaves (Laurus Nobilis) are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavorings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme.
The Bay Leaf has a long history of cultural, culinary and medicinal uses in many cultures. Highly prized in ancient Greece and Rome, the Bay Leaf was considered a symbol of accolade and used to adorn Emperors and poets, as well as triumphant warriors and athletes. References to it even appear in mythology.
In terms of culinary applications, the Bay Leaf is quite versatile when used for food seasonings. The warm scent becomes quite noticeable when the leaf is broken, releasing its fragrant oils. The Bay Leaf's flavor is slightly bitter and highly aromatic. Commonly used in soup, stew or sauce seasonings, the Bay Leaf can make foods with long cooking times quite flavorful. It's distinctive taste also makes it a good choice for pickling spice. It may be used singularly or with other organic herbs and spices as part of a bouquets garnis. When whole leaves are used, be sure to remove from the food before serving.
Ingredients: Organic Bay Leaves (Laurus Nobilis) from Turkey.
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