Bay leaves are an aromatic herb that is known for their strong fragrance, which is more noticeable in cooked foods than their taste. The bay tree is originally from Asia Minor, and it spread to the Mediterranean and other similar climates. Bay leaves are typically sold as either fresh or dried leaves and are also referred to as Laurel Leaves. The leaves of the evergreen shrub are shiny and olive green on the upper surface, while the lower surface is dull olive to brown.
The leaves are elliptical in shape, pointed, and smooth, ranging from 2.5 to 7.5 cm in length and 1.6 to 2.5 cm in breadth. The flavor of bay leaves is slightly bitter and strongly aromatic, with a herbal fragrance that is slightly floral and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme when dried. Whether you’re using fresh or dried bay leaves, they are an essential ingredient in many cuisines around the world and add a distinctive flavor and aroma to dishes.