When and Tips on how to Harvest Bay Leaves

Regardless of what the haters say about bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) having little to no impression on the flavour of the recipes they’re utilized in, this basic cooking herb performs an necessary position in growing layered taste.

I feel those that can’t style the impression are simply utilizing previous, flavorless leaves which have been sitting within the cabinet too lengthy.

Bay leaves are used entire in cooking as a result of they are often too pungent when crushed or damaged.

Go forward, snap one in half and take a whiff. Think about that herbaceous eucalyptus scent overpowering your dish. Bay is supposed so as to add refined taste. It shouldn’t shout.

A close up horizontal image of the branches of a bay tree growing in the garden, pictured in light sunshine.

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Probably the most pungent taste comes from while you use freshly harvested foliage.

They lose their taste the longer they sit in storage – therefore the complaints about including no taste – so accessing recent ones is a deal with and the easiest way to expertise what this herb really provides.

In our information to rising bay laurel, we focus on how one can domesticate these timber in your backyard.

When you’ve got your individual provide that you simply wish to harvest and use, however you’re unsure how one can go about it, this information will help.

We’ll focus on the next to carry out one of the best in your bay:

Tips on how to Harvest Bay Leaves

Earlier than you can begin plucking the leaves and utilizing them, it’s important to know when to start out working. Let’s cowl that, first.

When to Harvest

For those who plan to make use of the bay leaves recent, you possibly can harvest any time. In any other case, you possibly can dry small batches all year long and use them immediately.

What number of you possibly can take without delay will depend on how massive your plant is. You by no means wish to harvest greater than 10 % of the foliage at anyone time.

A top down horizontal image of freshly harvested bay foliage in wooden bowls on a rustic wooden table.

When you’ve got a big bush, which means all year long, you possibly can just about take as many as you should use in a small family.

Keep away from harvesting within the winter, although a couple of right here and there received’t damage the plant.

If you wish to dry a bunch suddenly so you possibly can promote or give them away, or simply so that you simply don’t have to fret about having a prepared provide, it’s greatest to reap within the peak of summer season when the shrub is at its peak.

When you’ve got a alternative, it is best to all the time wait to reap within the top of summer season. That’s when the foliage has the very best important oil content material and, consequently, the strongest taste.

Which Leaves Are Finest?

Bay timber ship out new foliage all through the spring, summer season, and fall, with a lot of the leaves rising within the spring.

These will probably be smaller, softer, and brighter inexperienced than the mature ones. Don’t harvest these younger leaves, you need the older ones, which ought to be bigger, darker inexperienced, and firmer than the younger ones.

Keep away from harvesting any bay foliage that’s broken, eaten by bugs, or discolored.

For essentially the most pungent taste, you wish to harvest the mature leaves in summer season when the important oil content material is at its peak.

Tips on how to Harvest

There are two methods to reap out of your bay. The primary is to easily pluck them off utilizing your fingers. That is greatest in case you are solely taking a couple of leaves right here and there.

In any other case, use a clear pair of scissors and neatly trim them off close to the stem. You don’t wish to let any a part of the leaf stay, so take it off as near the stem as you possibly can, whether or not you’re plucking or slicing.

A close up horizontal image of a bay tree cutting set on a wooden chopping board.

When you’ve got a big shrub, you possibly can take off small branches as a substitute of harvesting particular person leaves.

The benefit of harvesting branches is you could hold them in bundles to dry.

The drawback is that additionally, you will doubtless have some younger leaves on the department which received’t style so good, and also you’ll wish to simply pluck these off and toss them out.

Use a pointy pair of pruners to chop off the department as near the closest department or stem as you possibly can.

Recent or Dry?

It’s superior accessing recent bay, however the leaves may be considerably bitter. The perfect taste emerges when they’re recent however dried.

A close up horizontal image of freshly harvested bay leaves in a wooden bowl.

Those you purchase within the retailer may be months (or years) previous, so it may be revelatory utilizing recent foliage dried proper off the tree.

Be happy to experiment with recent leaves and see what you assume. Some individuals desire the stronger taste in some dishes, myself included. If you want a extra mellow however complicated taste, dried is the best way to go.

The recent foliage has extra of a eucalyptus, licorice taste, whereas dried leaves settle right into a mellow, natural taste that has the identical notes as thyme and oregano.

Let’s speak about how one can dry leaves.

Tips on how to Dry Bay Leaves

When you’ve harvested the foliage, give it a rinse and let it dry.

The simplest methodology for drying a small batch is to set them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet on prime of paper towels.

Lay paper towels on prime and set them apart in a cool, darkish space. Examine each few days to see if there’s any mildew forming. If that’s the case, toss these with mildew and unfold the remaining ones out a bit extra. Flip them after every week. They need to be dried and able to use in two weeks.

You too can use a dehydrator to hurry up the method. Comply with the producer’s instructions for drying herbs. Sometimes, this implies drying at a temperature of round 95°F for one or two hours.

A close up horizontal image of a pile of dried bay leaves.

After an hour or so, examine the leaves and search for any inexperienced, pliable areas. For those who see any, preserve drying. They need to be crisp and grayish-brown when they’re prepared.

For those who don’t have a dehydrator, you too can use your oven. Flip it on to a bake setting on the lowest temperature and place a single layer of leaves on a baking sheet.

Bake them for an hour, flipping them each 20 minutes and checking for dryness.

For those who harvested branches, strip off the bottom leaves and take away any younger, shiny inexperienced foliage. Tie the branches collectively on the base and hold them the wrong way up in a cool, dry space out of daylight to dry.

Retailer the entire, dried bay leaves in an hermetic container, whether or not that’s a baggie or a glass jar, in a cool, darkish space. They keep their taste for as much as a yr. Sure, they’ll proceed to look nice for lots longer than a yr, however they lose most of their taste so toss them out or use them up.

A Bay-Youtiful Harvest!

As a result of it may be arduous to inform how previous the leaves are within the jars you purchase on the grocery retailer, to not point out how costly they are often, accessing recent foliage is superior.

Now inform me, how do you want to make use of your bay? What’s your favourite recipe? Share within the feedback!

Hopefully this information helped you determine when to reap the foliage and how one can dry it out.

And if you need extra details about rising bay laurel in your backyard, try these guides subsequent:

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