Bay Trees….Got One?

We have two bay trees in our garden.  They are wonderful.  If you enjoy cooking—it is so much fun to just step out the door any time during the year, grab a bay leaf and throw it in your stock, soup, stew, etc.  They are evergreen–and such a treat to use fresh instead of dried.  In the grocery store they are not cheap—around 6 dried bay leaves cost $10-$12.  So many people don’t even realize how easy they are to grow. They are a staple in French cooking.

We live in Eastern NC—and they do wonderful year round in our garden.  If you live in extreme winter temps—you can bring it inside during the winter. Bay trees can be ordered from many different nurseries—and can grow to be quite large.

Or kept as a topiary for ease of bringing inside.

Our three children, all violinists, keep bay leaves in their violin cases—it keeps mites away from the bow hair.  You can use bay for many great reasons! They repel ants, moths, grain worms—you can keep them in your flour and cereals to stay bug-free.  They are great additions to homemade pot pourri.

While I was making Bouquet Garni the weekend of the hurricane–I also bottled up many of these great gifts…….

I dried 12-14 bay leaves in the microwave and put them in these cute, miniature Italian jars for Christmas presents this year.  They will make great neighbor presents, hostess gifts, teacher presents, etc.  {I love these jars!  I found them at Tuesday Morning—and went back to buy all they had!}  To dry bay leaves:  lay them out flat on a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  If you have your own bay tree you don’t need to dry them for yourself—but to give as gifts, or bottle, you will need to dry them first.

Anyone else out there grow bay?




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11 thoughts on “Bay Trees….Got One?

  1. I used to love my bay tree. With the Navy, we moved so many times, mine died! I was so upset that I lost it. I used to love using the fresh bay in recipes. It was awesome. I so want to get another one.

  2. We tried to grow a bay in the garden, but the extremely cold temps got it. This year we took at topiary from the garden show and put it in a pot so I can bring it inside. I has taken off on the deck this summer. Thanks for tip on how to dry the leaves. Great gift idea. Dianne

  3. Did not know these grew like this! Here in the Midwest, my herbs grow plentiful in the summer so I freeze them and dry some. I wonder if the microwave method would work for things like basil, sage, rosemary, etc.?

    • Yes it will! But for rosemary I love to make wonderful arrangement with it, allow it to dry naturally & then use it throughout the winter. You get wonderful smelling arrangements throughout your home AND dried herbs to use! 🙂

  4. I love my bay tree! It’s still little but I’ve already seen the savings and benefits of having it! And I don’t think anything beats fresh herbs. I just love my little herb garden. Thanks for the tip on drying. 🙂

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