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Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavour and fragrance. The leaves are often used to flavours soups, stews, braises and pates in Mediterranean cuisine.
The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavour until several weeks after picking and drying. Bay leaves were used for flavouring by the ancient Greeks.
It is a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean).
They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood, vegetable dishes, and sauces. If eaten whole, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste.
As with many spices and flavourings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme.
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