I've been raised in Europe and Bay Laurel (Dafin) was one of the native scented herbs which was flavored my mom's dishes. Continuing tradition, now I have my own edible Laurel tree in my kitchen, an ornamental four year old plant and I use its leaves to flavor meat dishes, fish and sea foods, tomatoes soup and to make teas.
If you pick bay leaves early in the day, dry out in a dark place and store in an air-tight jar, the dried bay leaves will keep their flavor for up to a year. Usually, this large shrub / tree has a lot of branches, and can reach more than 10 meters tall, if left untrimmed.
Laurel tree has clusters of small yellow flowers followed by black or dark purple berries. In this summer I let few branches to grow free and now have few flower buds. I'm so curious to see how is blooming.
The bay leaves flavor is characteristic in many cuisines: Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Turkish, German, Cuban, Scandinavian, Brazilian.
The fresh bay leaf immediately starts to release its essential oils and flavour as soon as it is added to the dishes, and if you wish to experience something with an unique flavor, try a cup of fresh bay leaf tea with 2 pieces of lemon - the taste is really wonderful! From old times is said that bay leaf infusion aid in digestion, relieve headaches and arthritis pains and in getting a good night’s rest. I tested first two theories, you should test it too, and you'll notice their medicinal properties.
My Bayleaf tree is Greek Laurel variety. There are three methods of propagating bay - sowing seeds, taking cuttings and layering branches.
I read that it is very difficult to propagate by cuttings but I planted anyhow, in April, few shoots 15 cm long and I layered one big branch. The cuttings looks good and the layered branch has new shoots, but because will root after one year or so, I'm still waiting the result.
Until then, my Laurus Nobilis tree grows slowly but surely with his shiny, dark green leaves, beautiful to look and aromatic to cook.
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