Is Bay Leaf Safe to Use When Fresh?
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Linda Greenwood
Posted on: May 28, 2004

We have a Bay Leaf plant and have had digestive issues when picking and using the leaves right from the plant. I had a friend tell me that they have to be dried or a poison exists. Is this so?

Culinary bay leaf comes from the plant Laurus nobilus, a perennial evergreen tree. There are other plants also called "bay" that are in fact poisonous. First check that you have the edible herb. Culinary bay leaves do not need to be dried before using, but when dried they have a better, sweeter flavour. Remove bay leaf after cooking and discard.

Bay leaf is used in soups and chowders, pasta sauce, casseroles and stews; added to meat dishes, especially beef, chicken and turkey; fish (poaching shrimp and cooking shellfish); in marinades; as part of bouquet garni; in milk to flavour pudding; added to the water for cooking vegetables (i.e. potatoes) and pasta.

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