Our Organic California Bay Leaves are the whole leaves of the California bay tree that have been hand harvested and delicately air-dried. These whole California bay leaves are similar in culinary usage to other bay leaf varieties, generally added to the cooking liquid and removed before eating, with the key difference that they boast a much more intensely powerful flavor and aromatic profile. Their primary culinary use focuses on imparting their deep fragrance, which is much more evident then their subtle taste, into savory dishes. These aromas and delicate flavors are a bit floral and herbal, resembling that of thyme and oregano. Unlike some dried spices who‰۪s fresh counterpart boasts more powerful flavors, the fresh bay leave is actually quite mild requiring a pro-longed aging period for the unique fragrance and flavors to develop. By directly sourcing these all-natural California bay leaves we ensure that this aging has been done without the use of harsh chemicals, maximizing their robust flavor and nutrient load!
Bay Leaves represent a broad family of trees harvested for their aromatic leaves and used in cuisines all around the world. The tree is believed to have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and first gained culinary popularity amongst ancient Greeks who used it as a flavoring for their meat preparations. The leaf is well recorded historically in their culture, where it was celebrated for its medicinal properties and linked to many mythological legends. In fact, the leaf was so highly acclaimed that it was even featured in the crowns of early Olympic game winners. From there, the spice soon gained popularity in the rest of Mediterranean cuisines, becoming commonplace in stews and braises, and simultaneously became popularized in south Asian cuisines particularly with Indian curries. Perhaps the most important culinary adaption was the prestigious role they secured in French cuisine, which has since become globally recognized for its elite high-end flavors and preparation methods.
These organic bay leaves contain a variety of healthy compounds, including a rich source of vitamin A and C, trace minerals, and polyphenols an antioxidant. The leaves have been used in cultures all around the world to calm a variety of health ailments from headaches to coughs, and as of more recently, its been suggested that their nutrient makeup can help control diabetic glucose levels, boost immune system strength, reduce digestive discomfort, and potentially fight cancerous cells.
Using at Home
When first experimenting with our all-natural bay leaves at home you may notice that the flavor they impart into dishes is quite mellow, and in the presence of more dominating flavors can almost go unnoticed. However, this does not mean that they should be neglected! The power of bay leaves is that they sing back-up for meaty flavors, essentially setting the stage and enhancing the natural savory notes of braises, stews, and soups. With that being said, those examples are a great place to start your bay leaf experimentation! Try adding in a few to your next pot of anything-that's-not-dessert liquid -like curry!- and let slowly simmer removing before consumption (though, technically they are edible). In some cases, if wishing to impart a more intense bay leaf flavor, you can crush up the leaf prior to usage. However, this makes it difficult to pull out before eating so try putting them in an infuser or muslin bag. Another creative usage is adding a crushed leaf to your next tea infusion giving it a unique herbal fragrance that is quite delicious!