Bay Leaves - How To Use

(Also known as Sweet Bay and Bay Laurel)


Resinous, herbal and floral, good quality leaves should always be pale in colour.

Bay leaves release their essence when heated (especially if crushed slightly), and they also perfume a dish. They are excellent for adding essence to stews, soups and meat dishes, and are normally removed before serving.

Are bay leaves always dried?

Native to the Eastern Mediterranean region, the fresh or dried leaf varieties are acceptable when cooking. 

What flavours go with Bay Leaf?

  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Lemon Juice
  • Marjoram
  • Onion
  • Orange Peel
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Tomato
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Our 14th-century all-purpose Catalan blend Sofrito is a great example of how bay leaves marry with flavours like BasilBlack PepperGarlicLemon PeelOnionOreganoThyme and Tomato

Health Benefits

What are the benefits of bay leaves?

Bay leaves are rich in Vitamin C. They are said to protect us from cold and flu, diabetes, heart disease and aiding digestion. It is also considered great for the skin in the form of Bay leaf tea and has properties for protecting our eyes. Some also suggest that it can help to eradicate head lice. 

Interesting Facts
  • The Greeks and Romans believed it had magical qualities, and it is fair to say modern chefs agree. Often added to a bouquet garni, tied in a bundle, with thyme and parsley and always removed before serving.
  • The Romans would use bay leaves to flavour roast meat, and sometimes the berries were eaten by adding to stews and sauces.
  • The Romans believed that crowns or wreaths of bay leaves would dispel evil spirits, with the spiritual significance continuing all over Europe.
  • Bay branches were burned in public places during the 17th Century to protect people from the plague. 
Chief Flavour Compound

Cineole: (Sharp, eucalyptus and herbal) colourless oily liquid, with a pungent fragrance and balance of cool and spicy in taste.  Also found in black cardamom, galangal, nutmeg and rosemary.


Blends to try with Bay Leaves

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