Bay Leaf

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated April 23, 2018)

Throughout history bay leaves have been utilized to represent honor and victory. In fact, during the first Olympics the winners of the sporting events were given a crown made of bay leaves (also known by its scientific name Laurus nobilis) as a sign of their victory. This tradition continues today by calling exceptional people Laureates (such as Nobel Laureates, Poet Laureates, etc.). The original reason for this tradition lies back in mythology, where the sun god Apollo was found to have a one-sided affection for a nymph named Daphne. After time, the other gods took pity upon Daphne and turned her into a laurel tree, which made this tree Apollo's favorite. Since Apollo was a god of sport, it was only fitting that the leaves of this tree were used to honor him. Another interesting side note for the bay leaf is that there is a tradition that the bay leaf could help protect people from witches, devils and lightening; which is why some Roman emperors would wear crowns of laurels.

Over time the pungent leaf of the laurel tree became a favorite of cooks, and has become almost indispensable to chefs the world over. The reason for this is that the bay leaf (or laurel) has an interesting combination of aromatic oils, including the oils that contain the anesthetic power of the clove and the light woodsy taste of parsley. It will take some time for the bay leave to give up its flavor while used as a seasoning, so be careful that you do not over use it. Often a single leaf can be all that you need to add just the right amount of flavor to a great stew, soup, or even pasta dish. Bay leaves also work well in conjunction with fish dishes, ragouts, custards, poultry dishes, rice dishes, curries, and so on.

In modern times, bay leaves are typically sold chopped, powdered, or pounded. The reason for this is that it allows for the leaves to release its oils quicker when cooking. This reduction in cooking time to release the taste of the bay leaves allows the reduction of general cooking time for many dishes. In addition, this increase in the ability to access the bay leaves taste helps to mask the oiliness of some fish (such as mackerel). In fact, the power of the bay leaf is so strong that a single whole bay leaf can help flavor up to two pounds of meat, two quarts of broth, or servings for up to eight people.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Chinese Gardens

If you are looking to create a garden that is both relaxing, and beautiful, then one of the best types you could plant is ...

Discover More

Removing Stains from Silk Upholstery

Silk is a gorgeous material that can add beauty and elegance to almost any situation as a clothing option. When used as ...

Discover More

Home Dog Grooming

While it is nice to take your dog out to the groomer's every so often, it can also be fairly expensive. Instead, why not ...

Discover More
More Cooking Tips

Cleaning a Honey Mess

Do you love honey but hate the mess it leaves? Clean it up easier with a few simple tips.

Discover More

Making Your Own Spice Blends

What better way to show of your culinary skills than to create your own spice blends? It is remarkably easy to do, and ...

Discover More

Cloves

Cloves are one of those spices that seem to be full of contradictions. From it's bloody history, to the unusual color of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six minus 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured cooking tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)