|Bay has spice note; warm, somewhat fennel-like sweet, spicy with reminiscence of metallic.
Planting & Care.
Plant from containers available at a nursery. Sweet bay accepts almost any kind of soil and tough conditions but prefers well-drained soils and regular moisture. Locate in a sunny sheltered spot. It does not like temperatures below 40F in winter.
Harvesting and Use.
Most herbs give off their flavor in a short cooking time, whereas bay leaf enriches a soup, stew or slow cooking dish over a period of hours. That is why bay leaves go in at the start of spaghetti sauce, and basil and oregano are added at the end. Use the leaves whole, then remove when the dish is served. Leaves do not reduce in volume, and if chopped can be unpleasantly tough to chew. Use leaves in stews, roasts, casseroles and pate`s.
Bay is also a sodium slasher, it is being tested at the Human Nutrition Research Center, in Beltsville, MD, for its potential in helping diabetics. So far they have run tests in test-tubes and bay beats insulin’s ability to break down blood sugar by 3 times!
In the Caribbean Islands, bay is used in three beverages. Peppermint leaf brewed with bay tastes like spicy mint. Hot chocolate with bay leaf is milky and thick with an all-spice type aroma. Finally, they serve stout beer and combine seaweed and bay leaf and it tastes like salty dark beer with a lemon twist.
It is also great added to a hot cereal!