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Bay leaves...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by TimHeath, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    I use quite a few bay leaves in cooking and have an abundant supply of the things in my garden. It makes sense to dry my home grown leaves (Laurus nobilis) and use those rather than buying them. Except I can’t dry them properly. The advice I have read suggests leaving them in a room to dry out over a few weeks - mine don’t dry properly like the brittle ones I buy however I try.

    Maybe use the oven on a low heat?

    I understand they’re bitter in taste if not dried, any ideas?
     
  2. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Do you have an airing cupboard?
     
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Commercial ones will be force dried - probably in hot dry air - there is no way they could be dried naturally. I guess the main question is whether the ones you made a) taste OK in food and b) keep without going mouldy. I imagine b) is the main reason they are dried commercially. We don't cook with them, I always understood they were used as flavouring but not to be actually eaten.
     
  4. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    Not as such. When I was growing up we had an airing cupboard with an immersion heater in it. I have a combi boiler nowadays, making an airing cupboard a thing of the past.
     
  5. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    They taste of v.little and have gone mouldy over time in some cases.
     
  6. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    In an enclosed warm space with a dehumidifier?
     
  7. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I have a bay tree and always use them fresh in cooking. Most recipes I use suggest fresh bay leaves anyway so I wouldn't bother drying them, just snip and use when required.
     
    Learning, Catriona, TimHeath and 2 others like this.
  8. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    That sounds like a very reasonable and viable solution...
     
    Learning likes this.
  9. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Never dry ours wife just sends me into the garden to get fresh ones as needdd. We reckon fresh are better than dried

    Edit this seems to have crossed with others
     
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  10. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    That would certainly be an easy solution. Delia Smith reckons that they can be ‘slightly bitter' but most sources seem to think they’re at least as good, if not better than dried ones. I guess like most herbs, being dried simply means they’ll keep longer.
     
    Zou likes this.
  11. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    I gather the American variety of Bay is more bitter, and there have been occasions when people have mistaken Laurel for Bay. The storage life of Bay is about a year.
     
  12. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Laurel is poisonous isn't it?
     
  13. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Perhaps; one might be in a fine mess if consumed too much. But as a garden plant I've heard it can be quite hardy.
     
    dream_police likes this.
  14. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    They are quite common on The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I believe.

    I played a YouTube clip of that to my daughter last year. She couldn’t quite understand why I think it’s great.
     
  15. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I always use fresh leaves off the bay tree when I'm adding them , taste good to me .

    If you want to dry your own herbs from the garden and don't have a warm , dry , airy place to do it , get a good dehydrator .
    You can get them in different sizes , and qualities depending on if your just doing herbs or making your own biltong , they range from £30 to a couple of hundred .

    Here's an example at random from the cheap end , I've not looked into its details or reviews ,but it gives an idea ; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allied-UK-Laptronix-Dehydrator-Vegetables/dp/B07YDXWKD3
     
    TimHeath likes this.
  16. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Huh! Kids today... :rolleyes:
     
  17. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    I think the only herb that benefits from being dried before use is oregano , as it improves the flavour .
    All others I use fresh out of the garden .
     
    Learning likes this.
  18. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I was given a branch a couple of years back and simply put them in the kitchen near the radiator and they have dried as expected.
     
  19. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    This thread reminds me I`ve just run out of Bay leaves.Must add to Sainsburys order.

    I only have a small number of herbs in the garden,Oregano,Mint,Parsley which dry very well
    in the airing cupboard.
    When we had our first combi boiler I also had a small radiator fitted in it
    otherwise it could no longer have been suitable for airing.It`s now very warm in there.

    Of course during summer herbs dry very well hung in bunches indoors.
     
  20. TimHeath

    TimHeath Well-Known Member

    I’ve added a few fresh leaves to the pheasant stew that’s now in the oven, thanks for the advice everybody :)
     
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