Hi everyone, it’s Dee!
I’ve always thought that preparing my own spices is so much better than the ones I pick up and buy from the store. I already have thyme and oregano in my backyard but my fiancee’s mother gave me some bay leaves from her own garden. She loves to make soups and stews and I have no doubt in my mind that her fresh bay leaves help to elevate the taste. Having my own bay leaves got me excited so I just wanted to share what I did to preserve them. It is more ideal to use the fresh ones, of course, but I opted to preserve them since I don’t have a tree myself where I could just pick from whenever the culinary need arises.
Here is what the bay leaves look like when they’re still fresh and just got picked from the actual tree.
I cut the leaves from the main bark and then washed and dried them. I would have to pick the good quality ones from the bad ones that might have already been damaged by bacteria or some insects.
Here is an example of a good quality bay leaf.
Here is a leaf that I will be tossing out because of the damage that can be seen near its stalk.
Since I don’t have a dehydrator, the next best thing I could do is to lay them out in a cookie sheet or baking plan like this. This process is very simple and cost-friendly, but the only negative is that it would take a while before the bay leaves would completely dry out. These leaves would be ready to be kept in a jar after about three to four weeks. Dried bay leaves can be stored for about a year so I’m looking forward to making soups and stews all throughout the year with these.
Have you prepared or made your own spices? What process did you do and what were the results? Hope you enjoyed the process as much as I did!