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bay leaves - how do I dry them?
Sat 2-Oct-10
6:12 pm
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puffin
Tidworth Wiltshire

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Hi, my husband visited our house this weekend (we live in rented accommodation near his work now, and not yet let out house) and picked a load of bay leaves from the large bush we have in the garden, at my request.  How do I dry them so they will keep for the next few months?  I have attempted to dry them before (handy for cooking on a wet Welsh day when you don't want to venture down the garden) and had mixed results - sometimes they go brown instead of staying a nice dark green. I think this was when I dried them on the washing line, and found it rained constantly for the next week so gave up on them. Other times I have hung them form a hook in the kitchen.

Sat 2-Oct-10
6:14 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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In the past I've just left them on a shelf in the kitchen and have not had any go brown.  Can you put them on a tea towel on a tray in the airing cupboard?

I'll try that again!

Sat 2-Oct-10
6:19 pm
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puffin
Tidworth Wiltshire

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Right TA, I will try that, as we now have an airing cupboard (used to have a combi boiler).

Thanks, very prompt!

Sat 2-Oct-10
6:23 pm
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Toffeeapple
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Just happened to be passing...wink

I'll try that again!

Sat 2-Oct-10
11:32 pm
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KateUK
uk

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In a paper bag in the airing cupboard should do it nicely- or anywhere warmish and dry.

Kateuk makes things at http://www.etsy.com/shop/finkstuff and sometimes she does this too http://www54paintings.blogspot.com/ and also this http://finkstuff.weebly.com/

Sun 3-Oct-10
1:09 pm
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johnmcc
Norfolk UK

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We dried some on the branch when we pruned ours last year - didn't have any brown ones.  Did you use artificial heat?  We just left the branch on top of the kitchen clock.  friends thought it was an avant-garde flower arrangement!

What's wrong with the politics of envy, anyway?

Sun 3-Oct-10
10:33 pm
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mike.
Coventry

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I think any of the above methods should be ok. I've had no problems just scattering the leaves on a tray and leaving them in the kitchen to dry. I've never needed to use any heat - the only things I have dried that way were some chillies I dried last year which I halved and put in a bowl above the radiator. They turned out ok too so that might be a quicker way of doing the bay leaves.

Is it me or do dried bay leaves seem to have more flavour than fresh ones?

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Mon 4-Oct-10
9:15 am
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Heather E
Rubery, Worcestershire

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Try freezing a few.  I've not frozen bay leaves on their own but at this time of the year I make up my own boquets garnis - a couple of sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme ( ..Are you going to Scarborough Fair? whistle), sage, marjoram - all wrapped up in a couple of big bay leaves and tied with a long length of string.  Ideal for dumping in winter casseroles later on.  Everything seems to keep very well, and the bay leaves stay a lovely green.  So it's worth trying just a few in a box and see what happens.chef

Gone crazy. Back soon.

Wed 6-Oct-10
9:59 am
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puffin
Tidworth Wiltshire

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Great, thanks for all your replies.  

The ones that went brown were left on the washing line through various different weathers. Probably the sun that did it in the end?  I now have a few branches in the airing cupboard, transferred from a tray to a paper bag hanging up, as it takes up less room.  I must also make some of the bouquet garnis you mention, Heather, especially if I see any knocked down price herbs in the supermarket.

I'm now missing my mint patch, my chives, sage, lemon thyme and even my curry plant.  Need to make my own visit to the house some time to salvage a few if I can.

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