Bay Leaf
- Origin
Bay leaf is a plant that came from Mediterranean. It had been grown there since the ancient times. In Ancient Greece and Rome emperors, heroes and athletes were always crowned with laurels. In Middle Ages bay leaves signified kindness and it was believed to protect from evil and lightning. At the time the usage of the bays leaves was quite different from the modern one. They were mostly used for scenting the water in which hands were had been washed before mealtimes. Nowadays Basil is cultivated in Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Albania and Guatemala. It came to Europe as a medicine, but became a spice shortly after.

- Varieties
As a spice both fresh and dried bay leaves can be used. Fruits are in use as well.

- Flavour
High quality bay leaves have strong scent and bright olive colour.

- Usage
Bay leaf is essential for marinades, stocks, fish, soups and boiled meat. It is added to main courses approximately 5-10 minutes before they are ready. However, you have to make sure you remove it before serving. Bay leaf powder can be added to sauces after they have cooled down.

- Amount
1 leaf is usually enough for 1 litre of liquid.

- Combinations and substitutes
Bay leaves go particularly well with tomatoes, beetroot, cabbage and kidney beans.

- Storage
They should not be stored for more than a year after they had been picked, because they lose some of their smell and often acquire unpleasant bitter taste.

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