Bay is a kind of laurel, grown as a shrub or small tree, of which the leaves are used, fresh or dry (other laurels are toxic). Bayleaves are used frequently in mediterraneen cooking.
Remove leaves from shrub or branch.
Use leaves whole, as they will not be eaten: the leaf is usually removed from dish after cooking.
You can also cut a leaf in pieces for a recipe that will be strained later.
Bayleaves dry well. Keep the dried leaves in an airtight jar.
There's an old cooking legend which says that fresh bayleaves are toxic, so they should only be used dried. I don't think it's true because I ofen used fresh bayleaves, and my guests and I are alive and well.
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