Bay - How to Cook and Grow

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Bay leaves are an absolute must have in any kitchen. Get rid of any tubs of old grey dried leaves that you bought years ago and since forgotten about and buy a small bay tree, you certainly will not regret it. Laurus nobilis better known as sweet bay, bay laurel or bay leaf is an aromatic evergreen whose fragrant leaves are so essential in soups, stocks, stews and basically anything else savoury. Much heralded in Roman times where it was made into wreathes to bestow upon athletes and poets it can also be found in Ancient Greek medicine as an antiseptic.


How to Grow

For those of us outside of the sunny Mediterranean bay is best grown in a tub where it can easily be moved indoors during the winter. Once outdoors it needs to be kept shaded from the sun and protected from the rain. It is best to buy an established plant, cuttings can take up to a year to root and that is still no guarantee of success. Keep the soil moist in the spring and fairly dry during the summer.

How to Cook

Tear a leaf and smell it, this wonderful herb will bring nothing but good to any savoury dish you might prepare. An essential of the bunch of herbs known as bouquet garni it is vital in stocks and soups or for studding an onion with cloves for flavouring in a white sauce. They do dry but I donít see the point when a year round supply of fresh is so much better.

Content and picture © Miles Collins