Bay leaf is one of the major ingredients in our cuisine, they are used in a large number of recipes. Back in our childhood, there used to be bay leaf plants in almost every household. Or if they didn't have any, they used to borrow from their neighbors. I never saw people buy it from the market in my childhood. But things are different now. fortunately, it's almost the same in the rural areas in Bangladesh. There we get to see many bay laurels here and there.
Recently while I visit my aunt's house, I discovered this 50 years old bay leaf tree in their backyard. I saw this tree probably 20 years ago and it looks almost the same after so many years. There's no need to say this one tree is enough to serve the whole community. They are huge and full of leaves. Not only do they provide some to their neighbors but also they sell some to the village wholesaler.
The tree bark and the growing mushroom is saying how old they are.
The processing of bay leaf is pretty simple. Pluck some leaves or cut down a whole bunch and sun dry them for a few days. They will be ready to put on your curries or dessert. Preserving them is also very simple. Just keep them in a dry place, in a pot and they will be good to go for a year.
The tree is very green as you can see, the glossy green leaves look superb and of course. The leaves are usually very clean so no need to wash them before the drying process. I have heard that raw leaves have many medicinal values as well as dry leaves. My mom used to put the raw leaves with water and salt if we had stomachaches during our childhood.
I came to know from Google that "Bay leaves are commonly used to improve digestion by stimulating the gastrointestinal tract and promoting urination."
We usually add one or two bay leaves to our regular Cha/Tea/Chai. They bring a subtle aroma. Also, they are a must in our curries and local desserts.
It felt good to come across this old tree. I wish it lives further and serves the community.
Have a good day, everyone.