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Fairy Wren Cottage blog is a journal of sorts about seasonal living & stopping to see the beauty in our day.
Your time is precious, it's the greatest gift we can give ourselves & it's humbling that you would  take time out of your day to visit.

hello & welcome!

Jude 

It was a shock the first time I saw healthy, spray free Bay Leaves and compared them to the pale dried out leaves in those little packets at the supermarket that cost $$$.  After visiting a garden not far from here and realising the huge 4 x 3m tree in the front garden was a Bay Tree we set about planting three. Surely if it can grow up the road it can grow here. And for those gardeners who are always looking for something to grow that the wallabies, pademelons, possums and rabbits don’t eat add a Bay Tree to your list, put a guard around it for safe measure until it is established.

Look out for branches or small bunches of Bay Leaves at markets or plant a tree in your garden or  in a big pot. They like full sun and are easy to care for. Even buying small bunches and storing them this way is more cost effective and you know they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.

How to Dry & Store Bay leaves:

Make sure your leaves are spray free, that dogs don’t urinate on the branches you are collecting leaves from and that a bird hasn’t perched on the tree and gone to the toilet. If you do find bird droppings on leaves throw them in the compost. So just to be clear, first pick your clean healthy leaves, take them inside,  then at a different time remove the soiled leaves, dispose of them then wash your hands well or use your gardening gloves.

Prune small branches or pick leaves closer to the middle stem, that way you are thinning the tree at the same time and establishing good air flow between the branches (more air flow equals the tree being less susceptible to mould & mildew that in turn attracts pests and diseases).

Wash your leaves well with cold running water, put them between two clean tea towels and pat dry.

After the excess water is dried off the leaves place them  onto a cake cooling rack out of direct sunlight to dry out further for a couple of hours just so the leaves are no longer moist.

Once dry place them in a suitable freezer container or zip lock bag.

You don’t need to defrost the Bay Leaves before cooking with them they can just go straight into the pot, and if there isn’t any moisture left on the leaves they won’t stick together in the freezer. On a cold rainy day when you are cooking it is so convenient to reach for the bay leaves in the freezer instead of  having to go outside to the Bay Tree!

Enjoy,

Jude x

Bay Leaves.

April 4, 2019

  1. Lil

    April 5th, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Looks fantastic!

  2. Jude Van Heel

    May 21st, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Thank you Darling !

  3. Meg

    April 8th, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    I have a bay tree in a pot, Jude, and I love to pick the leaves and throw them into soups and stews. I haven’t ever dried them though so this will be something new for me to try. Meg:)

  4. Sally

    April 9th, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Hi Jude, our bay tree is next to the barbecue and The Man loves to add fresh ones to onions he’s caramelising on there – delicious! Like Meg I’ve only ever used them fresh, except for pruned branches which I keep in the pantry and my flour/grain storage esky as they’re supposed to repel pantry moth. Cheers, Sally at One Family, One Planet blog

  5. Jude Van Heel

    April 11th, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Hi Sally,
    So many great uses for bay leaves aren’t there!
    Jude

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