Bay Leaves


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Bay leaves are distinguished by their dark green coloring, ovate and pointed shape, wavy margins and glossy finish (due to the volatile oil, cineole). The leaves range in lengths from 4 to 10 cm. Fresh Bay leaves are often more potent than dried leaves, emitting a pungent and sharp taste, especially if eaten whole.

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Dried Bay leaves will lose that pungency, yet because the leaves become brittle and sharp, they are not suited for eating. Dried Bay leaves become matte finished and olive in coloring._¢

Current Facts

Bay leaves are the foliage of the shrub-like tree, Bay Laurel, botanical name Laurus nobilis, which belongs to the avocado family, Lauraceae. It is important to note that there are three other plants that are referred to and substituted for the Laurel Bay leaf, the Indian, Indonesian and California 'Bay' leaf trees. Only the California Bay tree is of the same family as the Laurel. Though similar in appearance, they do not carry the same flavor profiles or culinary attributes._¢


Bay leaves are one of the quintessential ingredients in a cook's arsenal as they have become a backbone of cuisines from all over the world. This is because no other ingredient can replicate the bay leaf's culinary virtues. Bay leaves contain the volatile compound, estragole, which provokes a soothing element to balance heat and spice while also adding depth by enhancing the perception of acidity and savory components of a dish. Bay leaves are a fixture in classic stocks, sauces, soups and stews. They become a trifecta ingredient alongside garlic and olive oil when preparing slow cooked legumes and meats as well as pan-fried seafood such as shrimp and white fish. Crushed Bay leaves impart more flavor than whole, yet they should applied within a tea infuser or cheese cloth.

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