Laurus nobilis L.

Bay leaves are obtained from the evergreen laurel tree, which reaches a height of 6 to 18 metres depending on location. The leathery, oval leaves grow 5 to 10 centimetres long. They are shiny olive green on top, and dull green on the bottom. After harvesting, the leaves are dried in the shade in order to preserve their green colour. Drying reduces the bitter constituents and allows the familiar aroma of the leaves to emerge.

Countries of origin

Mediterranean, Central and South America
The laurel tree was already a symbol of glory and wisdom in antiquity. Heroes, Olympic champions and statesmen were honoured with laurel wreaths. Today, this lush, leafy tree grows wild throughout the Mediterranean, but is also cultivated on large plantations in countries such as Turkey and Italy. Laurel even flourishes today in Ireland and Scotland.

Flavour and aroma

Fresh bay leaves are extremely bitter. Once dried, their typical, pungent, strongly aromatic and slightly bitter flavour comes to the fore. Because the flavour transfers to respective dishes only slowly, bay leaves should be added at the beginning or allowed to “soak in” when preparing cold dishes. Sauerbraten, red cabbage, sauerkraut; marinades for game, meat and fish, fish aspic. For preserving gherkins, beets, onions, mixed pickles, and for flavouring hearty soups and stews, dark sauces and meat dishes Bay leaves are a must in all roast meat dishes, as well as in all dark gravies, ragouts, goulashes, savoury stews and soups, game, red cabbage and rich potato dishes. The flavour of bay leaves also complements all sour-tasting foods, such as marinades for sauerbraten, aspic and cutlets in aspic, fish marinades, sauerkraut, pickled red beets, gherkins, mixed pickles and herring

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