Bay leaves are used as herbs and they grow on laurels or sweet bay trees. They are grown extensively through out America and Europe. They are the natives of Asia Minor but they spread to other countries in the world as well. It needs a sub tropical or a tropical climate to grow.
Bay leaves are often used in the dried form and people use them to garnish rice and meat dishes or even vegetarian dishes, soups and stews. In California, Bay leaves grow wild and these are called California Bay leaves. It cannot be used in the fresh green form. You can pluck Bay leaves and dry them to use it in the future.
When you pluck fresh bay leaves out of a tree they are almost olive in color and look green. Dry them out in a dry place where there is plenty of sunlight. It has to be really hot when you plan to dry them out. When you are plucking the Bay leaves, make sure you clear the stem and the hard ends. Make sure there are no insects on the leaves and clean them out if you have to. Take out the damaged leaves and throw them away. The bottom of the stems has to be snipped away. Bunch up the leaves and tie one string across them. Make several bunches if you want and just hang them out on a coat hanger for several days. Do not tie the string too hard or else the Bay leaves will tear.
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