Fresh bay leaves from our little bay tree

January 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

This past weekend we finally got around to planting our bay tree.  We’ve had the plant for awhile, sitting in a pot on our back patio. I think we probably would have put off planting it for a few weeks longer, if it hadn’t been for Dave’s little mishap on Sunday.

On Sunday, Dave woke up thinking it was Monday, and frantically zipped around the house getting ready for work, while I slept on, oblivious to the panic occuring around me.  Finally, he woke me up…”you overslept,” he said accusingly.  I pointed out that it was Sunday.  Rather than feel gyped out of a few hours of extra sleep, he treated Sunday like a bonus day, doing chores around the house, and accomplishing a few things that have been on our to-do list for awhile.

First, he fixed our wobbly chairs.  They are 50 years old, inherited from his parents, and until this morning, a little rickety.  Dave took them apart, glued them back together, and nailed little pads onto the feet to keep them from scratching the floor.  Then he tackled the bay laurel tree.  Dave scoped out a place just beyond our little breezeway, dug a big hole, and transplated our 9-foot tree.  This picture makes it appear that our big oak is looming over the Bay, but it’s not.  The oak is many feet beyond…it’s just so darned big, it hogs the whole picture.  I think we might later plant some roses in the bed with Bay, to make the little garden look even nicer.  Already though, it’s lovely.

Have you cooked with fresh bay leaves?  Once you’ve had fresh, you’ll never want to use the dry ones again.  To cook with fresh bay leaves, cut a few, and then allow them to dry for 48 hours, sitting on a paper towel on the kitchen countertop.  Drying them in this manner on the countertop will prevent them from being bitter.  I think freezing them before use also gets rid of the slightly bitter flavor.  Use fresh bay leaves the same way you use the dried.

Bay can also be grown in a pot inside, if you aren’t fortunate enough to live in a warm climate where it can be grown year-round.  It’s a very slow-growing plant, so if you’re lucky enough to see these at your nursery, be sure to buy the biggest bay you can find.

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