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Old 05-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #1
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Fresh Bay vs. dry bay

I have had a bay tree for years that I put outside in the summer, haul in for the winter. This past winter, the leaves dried up. I thought it was a goner--now it has some side shoots (these appeared after I spent $10 on a replacement one). I cut the other branches back (it is only 2 ft tall) and stripped the dried leaves (I have enough to last my lifetime and then some). Rachel Ray always uses fresh bay leaves--as have I until leaves dried up. The bay leaves one buys in the store smell nothing like the ones that I pulled off the branches of my bay tree. Totally different scent. Knowing this, I would never buy bay leaves--a waste of money. There isn't enough flavour in them to make it worthwhile adding them to a dish. As for the fresh ones, you don't have to worry about leaving them in a soup or stew. They are soft, no rough edges.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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The dry bay leaves I buy from Penzey's are always full of flavor.

I find fresh bay leaves to be too harsh for my taste. And sometimes bitter.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:49 PM   #3
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Penzey's and Costco dried bay leaves work fine for me, I haven't tried fresh.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:53 PM   #4
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The dry bay leaves I buy from Penzey's are always full of flavor...

+1

Penzeys sells Turkish bay leaves. They are considered higher quality than California bay leaves. I don't know if it's bcause they are a different type of bay or because the terroir is better in Turkey.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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I lost my bay tree this year. I too have a large jar of dried leaves that will last me a long time. I've used both in cooking and haven't noticed a difference in flavor in the finished dishes.

I think using fresh bay leaves is a new thing for RR. I used to watch her show often but I don't remember seeing that. I think the food entertainment industry looks for new ingredients every year to try to freshen things up, but I'm not convinced they're all worth it. I haven't had branzino or burrata but are they that much better than striped bass and fresh mozzarella?

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Old 05-21-2014, 01:29 PM   #6
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+1

Penzeys sells Turkish bay leaves. They are considered higher quality than California bay leaves. I don't know if it's bcause they are a different type of bay or because the terroir is better in Turkey.

Yes, its the fresh California bay leaves that I don't care for. Much prefer the Turkish.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:37 PM   #7
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I have a cookbook by Julia Child and she always writes "French bay leaves" in her recipes.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:25 PM   #8
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The dry bay leaves I buy from Penzey's are always full of flavor.
Same here.
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:32 PM   #9
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That must be the secret--the bay leaves I've bought in the past had almost not odor at all. We don't have Penzeys or The Spice Shop here, so have to make due with what is available. I've been using fresh bay since about 1987 when I bought my first bay tree. This is the first time it dried up in the winter (I have had the "tree" die because of various reasons that I forget) and I really noticed a difference in the scent (have to say it is much stronger than the dry bay leaves in the cupboard...but then, those are probably very. very old bay leaves...). Do Turkish bay leaves look the same or are they like Indian bay leaves (which are actually cinnamon leaves, I believe)?
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:39 PM   #10
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...Do Turkish bay leaves look the same or are they like Indian bay leaves (which are actually cinnamon leaves, I believe)?

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