Bay leaves actually refer to several plants that are used for cooking; the term “bay leaf” may refer to the Bay laurel (the most common in the U.S.), California bay leaf, Indian bay leaf, Indonesian bay leaf, West Indian bay leaf, or Mexican bay leaf. Bay leaves are aromatic leaves that are used in cooking to add their distinctive flavor, especially to soups, stews, meat, and seafood. Did you know that Bay leaves have been used all the way back to ancient Greek times?! They’ve been a fixture in many European cuisines ever since.
It’s a common misconception that bay leaves are poisonous, and it’s true that some members of the laurel family can be. But, the bay leaves that are sold in stores are never poisonous! However, they stay stiff and bitter throughout the cooking process, so you don’t want to eat them anyways.
As with any spice, it’s important to get your bay leaves from a good source. You can grab some at your local grocery store. If you want to grab them online, head over to Pure Indian Foods or get them from Amazon.