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Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

Laurus nobilis

The bay laurel leaves are used in cooking to impart distinct flavor and aroma to soups, stews, and pâtés. In addition to being a spice, bay laurel is used for ornamental and medicinal purposes.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Bay Tree, Sweet Bay
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves
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About Bay Laurel

Bay laurel is an evergreen tree that waves from the laurel family. It is majorly found in the Mediterranean and Roman regions. The leaves of this plant are of immense importance due to their sweet, fresh aroma and ornamental values.

Bay laurel trees are small and can attain a height that ranges from 20 to 50 ft. The plant is dioecious .i.e. male and female reproductive organs are on different plants. The tree gives long, glabrous leaves that are narrow and ovate.

The bay laurel leaves are used in cooking to impart distinct flavor and aroma to soups, stews, and pâtés. In addition to being a spice, bay laurel is used for ornamental and medicinal purposes. The bay leaves and essential oil, both can treat flatulence, bloating, and other gastrointestinal tract problems. They also help support diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy. Topically, it can be applied to the skin and scalp for treating boils and dandruff respectively.

It is not just the leaves of the bay that has everyone gushing over it. But the fruit of bay laurel is also very famous as its oil is extracted for massage and cooking.

Growing

Bay laurel is an undemanding plant that can be planted any time from April to September in both indoor and outdoor settings. This aromatic flowering plant enjoys full sun exposure and rich soil that contains rotted manure and organic compost. For containerized plant, it is advised to ensure well-drained soil is used.

Bay laurel does not require much water as this can cause root rot. The plant is frost sensitive, especially its roots so they must be protected.

Bay laurel is productive for more than a hundred years if it is protected properly. The bay laurel seeds are quite slow to germinate as they can take up to 6 months to sprout. But the seedlings grow at a faster pace.

During spring, bay laurel produces bright yellow flowers that are pollinated. The female flowers transform into shiny black-colored berries which bear seeds. These seeds are dispersed by the animals in the wild to begin the lifecycle of a new plant.

Harvesting

The bay laurel leaves are harvested during midsummer as their flavoring and aroma imparting oils are at

Bay laurel leaves are handpicked or either cut by a knife.

Bay laurel leaves are air-dried, away from the direct sunlight. The process might take a week to complete after which it is stored in an airtight container.

Usage

Bay leaves are used widely due to its appreciable aroma and medicinal benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse dry bay leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried bay leaves are paired with cinnamon sticks and left in hot boiling water to form bay tea.
  • Decoction - 4 to 5 leaves are enough for 1 liter of water to form bay leaves decoction.
  • Salve - Bay leaves infused oil is used to make bay salve.
  • Syrup - Bay leaves are simmered in a sugar solution to form bay syrup.
  • Infused oil - Dried bay leaves are infused with olive oil for 2 to 4 weeks to form bay infused oil.