Bay Leaves?

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Do they really matter? I feel like maybe they are purely decorative--something to make you or a guest bite into this inedible thing and go, "Oh! A bay leaf, I knew there was a little special something."

BTW, this place is a ghost town, no?

Jesse, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 02:58 (sixteen years ago) link

there are usually more threads than this! they disappeared!

as far as bay leaves go, i've wondered the same thing. but i use them anyways.

Ai Lien, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 19:43 (sixteen years ago) link

They haven't disappeared. You have to go look for them! I'm guessing the lack of "bookmark board" feature means that the extra effort it takes to get to here is too much like hard work. We've got COOKING to do!

Bay leaves matter when used appropriately, btw.

ailsa, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 21:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Bay leaves really make a difference in things like beef stew. If you can find good quality turkish dried ones, they smell really lovely - herbaceous, woodsy, very slightly flowery. They add a nice note to red meats. I've also seen a recipe for baking fish atop a bed of bay leaves.

But they are also in the family of inedible things to leave in dishes for the unsuspecting guest - like keffir lime leaves, thick lemongrass stems, giant stringy chunks of galangal or ginger. The baby in the king cake. "Real cherries. May contain pits." Or edamame pods, which I tried to eat once, thinking they were snap peas or something.

Jaq, Wednesday, 4 April 2007 01:27 (sixteen years ago) link

BAY LEAF ICE CREAM! I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You can also make nice rice by sweating off an onion, then adding rice, some cinnamon stick, a cardamom pod, a bayleaf and water, then cooking it until the water has disappeared.

Madchen, Wednesday, 4 April 2007 12:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Poach pears in water with maybe two bay leaves. (It is "poaching" where you that, right? I'm running on sleep deficit.) The peppery bay flavor mixed with the peary pear flavor is really nice.

Casuistry, Sunday, 8 April 2007 17:05 (sixteen years ago) link

Ooh, that sounds nice. I've had pears with thyme, but never bay.

Madchen, Monday, 9 April 2007 10:28 (sixteen years ago) link

what's the diff between california bay leaves and regular old bay leaves? I'm always puzzled when recipes call for cali

m coleman, Monday, 9 April 2007 13:31 (sixteen years ago) link

California bay leaves (supposedly) are more herbaceous and harsher while turkish bay leaves are more floral and subtler. I bought an enormous amount of turkish ones about a year ago. I will never ever run out. Anyone needing one for comparison purposes, drop me a line with your address and I'll mail you one.

Jaq, Wednesday, 11 April 2007 04:06 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah I'm stocked on turkish ones too. now with dried apricots, though: california >>> turkish, rich and fruitier at least at my local market.

m coleman, Wednesday, 11 April 2007 10:33 (sixteen years ago) link

ONE? You'll go through all that trouble to mail ONE bay leaf? When you have thousands?

Casuistry, Friday, 13 April 2007 04:07 (sixteen years ago) link

It's my new austerity campaign. Plus, this is the internets. Millions of folks could respond and then where would I be? I should have used the old "Only one offer per household. Void where prohibited. Enclose SASE for fastest response." line.

Jaq, Friday, 13 April 2007 04:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Don't the bay leaves lose their potency after about a year or so?

I put all my spices in neatly labelled, uniform jars and put them in spice racks, but I think the sun is stealing their goodness. Some of them are ashen after a few months. It's a southern facing window, though the light is indirect.

Jesse, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 03:33 (sixteen years ago) link

If you keep spices and dried herbs in a cool, dark place, they keep longer. Bay seems to stay pretty potent for several years when I keep it in a sealed glass jar in the pantry, as do whole spices like cloves, peppercorns, etc. Dried herbs like thyme and such seem to hang in there for 6-8 months.

Jaq, Wednesday, 18 April 2007 13:05 (sixteen years ago) link

eight years pass...

this made me lol

just sayin, Tuesday, 8 March 2016 00:59 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Haha this has been in my mind lately so I was excited when I saw there was a thread about it - which I don't remember we starting.

That was a good Awl piece and it linked to this

I guess I'm a believer, but I'm going to try steeping a bay leaf in hot water asap.

Je55e, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 13:43 (seven years ago) link

I made a pot of vegetable soup this past winter and forgot the bay leaves, and extended it with more of the same ingredients + 4-5 bay leaves -- very noticeable bay flavor. They're so cheap at my Atlanta source (1/2 gallon bag packed full for about a buck) that I can go as heavy as I like.

Yoshimi P-We's Playhouse (WilliamC), Wednesday, 23 March 2016 14:02 (seven years ago) link

They're so much cheaper at the fancy bulk spice shops than at grocery stores! A jar of a dozen or so McCormick's bay leaves are priced at about $5, but about the same quantity weighed .10 lb and cost me $.26 at the spice store.

Je55e, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 18:38 (seven years ago) link

Wait no - .10 OUNCE, not pound.

Je55e, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 18:38 (seven years ago) link

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