Bay leaf

Bay leaf, also called laurel leaf, leaf of the sweet bay tree, Laurus nobilis, an evergreen of the family Lauraceae, indigenous to countries bordering the Mediterranean. A popular spice used in pickling and marinating and to flavor stews, stuffings, and fish, bay leaves are delicately fragrant but have a bitter taste. They contain approximately 2 percent essential oil, the principal component of which is cineole. The dried bay leaves are usually used whole and then removed from the dish after cooking; they are sometimes marketed in powdered form. Bay has been cultivated from ancient times; its leaves constituted the wreaths of laurel that crowned victorious athletes in Ancient Greece. During the Middle Ages bay leaves were used medicinally.


Bouquet Garni
Photo Credit: Steve Brown Photography/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Bouquet garni is a classic herb mixtureused for cooking meats and vegetables. Traditionally, this mixture is tied up in cheesecloth for easy removal after flavoring.


  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons dried bay leaf
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary


  1. Combine parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary and place on cheesecloth.
  2. Wrap tightly and secure with twine.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place away from heat sources.
  4. Use within 6 months

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