Bay leaves are aromatic leaves, grown and used as a herb. Native to the Mediterranean, bay leaves come from the evergreen bay laurel plant. In the kitchen used as fresh, dried, or grounded and added into many recipes such as soups and stews. In this article, we will share how to grow bay leaves, the nutrients, and the health benefits that can be gained from adding this leaf to your diet.
There are many varieties of bay leaves, but there are 2 main varieties of culinary bay leaves- California bay leaves, and Turkish(Mediterranean). California bay leaves are usually longer and thinner and have a more minty, potent flavour. If you grow bay leaves, you should consider some varieties: ‘California bay leaf’, ‘Indian bay leaf’. ‘Turkish bay leaf’, and ‘Indonesian bay leaf’.
How To Grow Bay Leaves
Sow bay seeds outdoors after all dangers of frost have passed in spring. Grow bay in container/pots or trenches, in full sun. Sow around 1cm deep in well-drained soil rich in organic matter such as compost or manure. Water regularly, especially in dry spells, keep the soil evenly moist.
When roots start coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom, transplant into a bigger container/pot. Alternatively, dig a small trench, transplant your bay and fill the rest with manure or compost. Fertilisers are optional, but if you want the best results, feed with a slow-release fertiliser throughout spring and summer.
Nutrients And Health Benefits
Bay leaves contain many beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, C, B-6, B-3, and B-2. They also contain many minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, potassium, and zinc. In addition, bay leaves may be used to help, diabetes, cancer, stomach problems, pains, and many more.
Bay leaves are easy to add to your diet, crumble dried leaves and add to pasta, salads, and use as seasoning for meats. Infuse fresh bay leaves with hot water to make an amazing herbal tea and add flavour to soups and stews.