Ethical Hedonist Top Tip: Foraging Bay Leaves
It’s simple and quick to make your own supply of dried bay leaves for winter – provided that you know of a suitable tree from which to pick the leaves.
Now usually found as ornamental trees in gardens, the sweet bay, Laurus nobilis, is in fact quite widespread. The Ethical-Hedonist picks our bay leaves from a series of bushes cascading down a footpath on the sunny south-facing cliffs of the Isle of Wight.
Use shiny young leaves or shoots of this year’s growth: Hang them in bunches, or lay them flat on sheets of newspaper (the Daily Telegraph is ideal), in a cool, dark place such as a spare room, or the top of a wardrobe or airing cupboard, and allow them to dry naturally.
And… voila! After 4-6 weeks the flavours will have developed as the leaves ‘cure’ without losing any of the delicious essential oils, and can be stored in an airtight jar for the following year.
Use to flavour casseroles, soups, beef, and hearty winter dishes, or in a bouquet garni. They are also ideal for pot-pourri.
Next Update: Brambles (blackberries to our English readers)
October: Sloes & Sloe Gin