Bay Leaf C/S 1oz
Bay leaf is an evergreen related to camphor and sassafras trees. It’s also known as sweet bay and laurel. Enjoy its sweet, balsamic scent and bitter/spicy bite in gravies and grain dishes, with beans and meats, and in cooking blends like bouquet garni.
Botanical name: Laurus nobilis L.
Bay LeavesSeveral unrelated plants with similar names are often confused with true bay, but you won’t want to substitute them. Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), for example, produces leaves with a bitter almond flavor, which can be poisonous. West Indian bay (Pimenta racemosa is a relative of allspice. Its oil is sold as oil of bay and is used to make bay rum. Bayberry ( Myrica pensylvanica ) is a North American shrub; its fruit is a source of candle wax. One plant that can be substituted is California bay (Umbellularia californica), which grows in the Western U.S.
With its roots deep in Greek mythology and the first Olympics, the bay leaf is a noble herb. Bay has long signified success and renown. The champions of the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. were awarded bay garlands, and wreaths of bay were used to crown kings, priests, poets, prophets, heroes and victors of athletic and scholarly contests in Greece and Rome. Our word “baccalaureate” means laurel berries, an honorarium given to ancient scholars upon completion of their studies, and the distinction “poet laureate” comes from the reference to Apollo, patron of the fine arts who had a special affinity for the laurel tree. In fact, bay trees in Greece are still sometimes called Daphne trees because, legend has it, Apollo wore a wreath of bay leaves on his head in remembrance of his beloved Daphne, whom the gods turned into a bay laurel tree.