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Bay Leaves

Also know as sweet bay, sweet laurel, bay laurel and laurel leaf. Store in a cool, dry place, away from bright light, heat and moisture. Add a bay leaf or two to marinades, stock, pâtés, stews, stuffings and curries. When poaching fish, add a bay leaf to the water. Store with rice in a tight fitting jar and the leaf will impart its flavor to the rice when cooked. Bay leaves greatly improve flavor if you are cutting down on salt. Try adding a bay leaf or two when you boil potatoes to replace salt. Always remember to remove the whole bay leaf after cooking in any dish. Fragrant bay leaves are a basic ingredient of bouquet garni, but they have other wonderful uses. Bay leaves may be added to many fish dishes, particularly salmon, custards, stews, rice dishes and especially soups. Homemade chicken soup would not be homemade without a bay leaf or two. Don't worry about using the fresh herb, the dried version is usually all that is needed. However, overuse of this herb can make a dish bitter. Remember to always add leaves to the start of cooking and remove before serving.