herb helper 
a dictionary of 
common cooking herbs:

bay leaf

bay leaf Bay (laurel) leaves come from an evergreen plant thatís native to the Mediterranean. Itís next to impossible to find bay leaves fresh at the store, though the bay tree can be grown relatively easily in containers should you have a real hankering for the potent flavor of a just-plucked leaf. Dried bay leaves should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use leaves whole (one or two is generally sufficiently, as going overboard on this herb can result in a bitter flavor) in hearty soups, stews and casseroles, then remove the leaves before serving.

classic uses: bouquet garni (classic French trio of thyme, bay leaf and parsley, tied in a bouquet to flavor soups), stocks, bouillabaisse

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