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Thread: Drying Bay Leaves

  1. #1
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    Drying Bay Leaves

    DD planted a bay tree last year and now there are enough leaves to try drying them. Has anyone here dried fresh bay leaves? If so, how did you do it?

    Thanks,
    Richard

  2. #2
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    I pulled mine off the branch and just left them laying out to dry at room temp.

  3. #3
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    I did what Beth said - they dry really easily, and I just keep em in an air-tight plastic tub.
    My bay tree died on me I gotta get a new one.
    - Josie


  4. #4
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    Mine died too. Wanted to say though, in addition to agreeing with Josie and Beth, that I just usually used them fresh and preferred them that way.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  5. #5
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    It is nice to have a lovely bay, isn't it Richard? Like Laura I use them fresh at home, but dried ones are good for presents or if absolutely needed. I dry them (and lots of other things) on a cookie rack on top of the fridge under a cupboard - there's a 3" to 4" space there that's warm and drafty when the fridge is running that's a great place for drying.

    I had a very small, knowing nod at the dead bays you two sisters had; mine died too, or rather I killed my old bay - it had scale and I tried for years to get rid of that nasty little bug, but it always came back. My dw, sweet thing that she is, bought me a new one. (but the d@mn thing has scale too - sheesh! - at least it is still small so swabbing the scale with soap, water and alcohol mix, isn't the time-consuming job it was with the other one, but the plant is growing and the scale keeps coming back).
    Cheers! Andy

  6. #6
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    I also use the leaves fresh -- my tree is outside the kitchen where I planted an herb garden.

    Question for you other bay owners -- I was expecting mine to grow more bush-like, but it is more of a multi-trunk tree and I have been trying to decide whether and how to train it. How does yours grow -- size and shape?

    Sorry about that scale, Andy -- we had it on a fruit tree.

  7. #7
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    Beth: my mom's is like a slender indoor tree.

    I would like to own a second, now that I am confident my kaffir lime tree is thriving. It is COVERED in blossoms right now (!! and indoors no less!) and is sprouting several new tiny branches/leaves. I've gotten 3 limes off of it! Anyhoo, my bay tree never got very big, but I think I was moving too much plus I had cats. My life is more plant-friendly now.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth View Post
    I pulled mine off the branch and just left them laying out to dry at room temp.
    now I understand the bay leaves that were in my swap package! They came from your garden
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cangoss View Post
    now I understand the bay leaves that were in my swap package! They came from your garden
    Yes, they did. I thought I put that in my note, but I never remember everything.

    My tree is outdoors, right across the driveway from my kitchen. I'm estimating it at about 14 feet tall. When I planted it there, I was told it would be a bush. I think they said 4-6 feet, but if outdoors and it got a lot of sun and water, it might get 8-10 feet -- a bit more. I guess mine is happy, but it is not quite a tree and not quite a bush. I'd like to train it to some sort of shape and am not sure what I can do with it. I'm going to have to replant that bed this spring and will be working over there -- just curious what others have.

    I'd love to have a kaffir lime. Glad to know they can grow indoors.

  10. #10
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    I don't think we could have a bay tree outside here but maybe I am wrong? Anyway my mom keeps hers trimmed to be much smaller since it lives inside, at least part of the year. It does NOT look very bush-like to me!
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  11. #11
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    Well, if I had known how large it would grow, I'm not sure I would have planted this thing where I did, but I currently have a lifetime supply of bay leaves. It never would have occurred to me to keep it indoors.

  12. #12
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    My bay is about 15 years old, and has lived happily in a pot as an indoor-outdoor plant. It had scales as a baby, but I treated it (heavily!) with an anti-scale soap and it seems to have wethered the storm well. It gets aphids in the spring when I put it outdoors but a good shot of water and some insecticidal soap seems to keep them in check. So do the lady bugs.

    I found that when i dried the leaves it helped to flatten them under a big book or something heavy for the first few days or they dried so curled up that they didn't look good in gift jars. This, of course, is when I remember far enough in advance to trim the little tree to get the leaves off in time for the holidays...

    I use two or three fresh leaves for every one dried one called for in any recipe and it seems to work just wonderfully.
    ~~Life is a combination of magic and pasta. ~~ Federico Fellini

  13. #13
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    its as simple as laying it down at room temperature.

  14. #14
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    I have a bay tree that I planted for the purpose of using the leaves. But I think I read something about not all bay trees being suitable for this purpose...how do I know if I can use mine? I don't remember what kind it is, although I may be able to read the tag still. The leaves don't really smell like the dried bay leaves I am used to buying - maybe that's my clue right there? Although it is thriving, I don't have a problem with just taking it up and planting a new one if it isn't going to be useful to me.

  15. #15
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    I can't tell you how to tell which plant you have -- I bought mine at a plant sale where they had lots of herbs and everyone was a master gardener who knew more than I will ever know. Do you have a county extension office or a master gardener program in your area that might be able to help you?

  16. #16
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    You don't want the California Bay Laurel plant Meg, you want to plant and use the one found in the Mediterranean region, the Bay Laurel

    Mine is grown indoors, of course, as we can get down to -35 F on some nights, though not yet this year (I hope I haven't cursed us now!) - this year we also have less snow that Washington or Pittsburgh!

    Beth, it says at Wiki that the bay laurel can grow to as much as 18 meters in height - that's pretty close to 56 feet by my estimation, so yours has a way to go! You better start feeding it!
    Cheers! Andy

  17. #17

    Use some for an appetizer

    I would love to have a bay tree outside my home.

    Have you ever tried deep fried bay leaves? I made them for an appetizer for our family's Xmas dinner with the theme of "California Dreamin'" Then I saw Lidia fry them so I guess the beat goes on.

    Fried Sage Leaves

    24 Large Sage Leaves
    1 Egg
    2 Tablespoons Water
    1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
    Dash Of Salt And Pepper
    Canola For Deep Frying


    Rinse sage leaves and pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl, beat the egg until well mixed. Add in the water and mix. Sift the flour onto a large plate with the salt and pepper. Pour the oil in a pot to a depth of about 1 inch, and heat until it reaches 375 degrees F. Once the oil is hot, dip the leaves into the egg mixture individually, and allow the excess to drain off. Coat with the flour mixture, and then carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let them brown too much. Remove from the oil, and let dry on paper towels. Continue with the remaining leaves until they have all been fried. Once they are finished, sprinkle lightly with salt, and serve immediately.

    Choose your favorite dip.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hAndyman View Post
    You don't want the California Bay Laurel plant Meg, you want to plant and use the one found in the Mediterranean region, the Bay Laurel
    Hmmm. Something in the back of my mind tells me I think mine is a California Bay. I guess I'll start over. Thanks for the info!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hAndyman View Post
    Beth, it says at Wiki that the bay laurel can grow to as much as 18 meters in height - that's pretty close to 56 feet by my estimation, so yours has a way to go! You better start feeding it!
    OMG! I sure hope this one doesn't get that tall -- that's up there with the pine and oak trees. It is still putting on new top growth though -- and it is blooming right now. That's the first time I remember seeing that.

    I pulled this thread up again because we were working in the yard yesterday and I did some pruning. I gave several branches to neighbors and picked only the better looking leaves off the rest. I'm guessing I have over 200 bay leaves drying now. That's a lot of bay leaves!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth View Post
    OMG!
    I pulled this thread up again because we were working in the yard yesterday and I did some pruning. I gave several branches to neighbors and picked only the better looking leaves off the rest. I'm guessing I have over 200 bay leaves drying now. That's a lot of bay leaves!
    I love those bay leave wreaths. I can't imagine how many leaves it would take to make one though!

    Anyone know how I can get my little indoor bay tree to branch out? I have one truck and leaves, that's it.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  21. #21
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    That's all mine was when I planted it and now I'm cutting off shoots that are coming up from the ground because they are crossing and getting twisted up. I did cut the tops of the branches one or two years when it was short enough to reach them to try to encourage it to bush out. That may have helped, but it seems that it wants to continue to send up new shoots.

    I hadn't thought of a wreath, but I like that idea. Can't wire them -- would you hot glue them onto a base? I just happen to have a new bag of glue sticks that the DI team hasn't gotten their hands on -- yet. I'll have to think of what to put with it. Thanks!

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