Bay leaf (Laurel nobilis)

Bay leaf is the aromatic leaf of Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) originated in Asia Minor, and spread to the Mediterranean and other countries with suitable climates. Several other plants are also using the term 'bay leaf', but are not refer to the leaves of Bay Laurel. California bay leaf is refers to the leaf of California bay tree (Umbellularia californica) which is similar but has a stronger flavor. Indian bay leaf is the leaf of Malabathrum tree (Cinnamomum tejpata) which has fragrant and taste similar to cinnamon bark, but milder. Indonesian bay leaf (Salam leaf) is the leaf of Syzygium polyanthum, often added into meat dishes.

Bay leaf is often used to flavor soups, stews, seafood, vegetable dishes, braises and pates and is one of the most widely used culinary herbs in Europe and North America. Fresh and dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance, often used whole and remove before serving.

The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. If eaten whole, it is pungent with a sharp, bitter taste. Dried bay leaves have fragrant which is somewhat similar to oregano and thyme. Bay leaves contain the essential oil euganol and also myrcene, a component of many essential oils used in perfumery.

Laurel nobilisLaurel nobilis
Author: Fastily (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Flower of Laurel nobilisFlower of Laurel nobilis
Author: G.Hagedorn (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Laurel nobilisLaurel nobilis
Author: Tintazul (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Dried leaves of Laurel nobilisDried leaves of Laurel nobilis
Author: Jonathunder (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Indian bay leaf (Cinnamomum tejpata)Indian bay leaf (Cinnamomum tejpata)
Author: J.M.Garg (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

California bay leaf (Umbellularia californica)California bay leaf (Umbellularia californica)
Author: Dlanglois (public domain)

Indonesian bay leaf (Syzygium polyanthum)Indonesian bay leaf (Syzygium polyanthum)
Author: Wie146 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

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