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Thread: What's up with bay leaves?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Baltimore
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    171

    What's up with bay leaves?

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    I hope someone here can explain this to me, as it's an unsolved mystery in my life. Sometimes jars of bay leaves are delicious smelling and add a subtle, warm undertone to dishes that almost reflects the whole nutmeg/allspice world of flavors. But twice, when I've bought jars of them they've had this overpoweringly astringent and chemical smell, almost like some kind of medicine. They add a terrible taste to the food. What is up with the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of bay leaves? I feel like I wasted 8 bucks today.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    south US
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    95
    they might be old! I notice that if a spice is old- it gives this really chemically taste to food.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Southern California
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    There are actually two types of bay leaves. California bay leaves are more astringent. The usual kind are Turkish. Are you getting the same type every time? I don't know if most places even have California bay leaves, or if maybe some cheaper brands vary the type without labelling it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    4,498
    A buddy of mine knows I use lots of Bay Leaves in my cooking, so she brought me some of the California kind that she picked on a hike.

    They were HORRID to cook with, as avocado said, they were really astringent.

    I tied them in a bunch, though, and hung them in my closet....they were perfect there

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    greater los angeles area
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    618
    yup, the California kind of most things is better, but not bay leaves.

    /born and raised NorCal girl now living in SoCal.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2009
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    Northern Ireland
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    You could try growing your own Bay bushes are very easy to keep.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
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    244
    I agree with StoneAgeQueen. I have one that I've had for 4 years or so, leaves all year round. I just pop outside my front door when I need a few and put them in dishes fresh, easy peasy and cheap too!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Baltimore
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    The irony is that the store had normal and Turkish leaves, and I picked the normal ones because I was afraid that the Turkish were the useless kind I got last time. I guess it's the opposite. WTF are these even good for? The first time I used them I thought I had dropped plastic into the soup or something.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    greater los angeles area
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    618
    Quote Originally Posted by mdlaw View Post
    WTF are these even good for?
    mulch?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    4,498
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    They are great in the closet as air fresheners.
    That's what I did with mine

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