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Bay trees - are the safe, how to use?

ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
Hey everyone, we have two rather substantial bay trees in our garden. I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know that's what's they were until my Mum told me!

My first thought was, cool, no need to nip to waitrose to try bay leaf for recipes!..

But, some brief Googing led me to believe soke Bay trees, or similar, can in fact be poisonous.

This is mine, any thoughts?

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,132
    It looks like a bay tree.

    Does it smell like a bay tree?

    When you crush the leaves do they have a lovely bright fresh fruity smell?

    I don’t bother to dry mine. I just pull one or two off the tree and bung them in the pan.

    Fantastic.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Yep, when you crush the leaves it smells 100% identical. Cool!

    Is there anything else I can do with them? these two trees are about 15 ft tall! I have masses and masses of the leaves. Short of putting my wallpaper table up beside waitrose and undercutting them with *local*  *no plastic*, *organic*, *hand harvested* Bay leaves lol
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,410
    That’s what my bay tree looks like at the moment. 

    Unless you have reason to think your mother wishes you serious harm (and sons can sometimes try a mother’s patience … I know, I have a son) you should go with her identification 👍 

    I do exactly the same as @pansyface … snip one or two off and pop them in the pot. 😋 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,132
    Yes, in the past, I’ve chopped branches off mine and left them on a tabletop on the drive with an invitation for passersby to help themselves. 
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,155
    pansyface said:
    It looks like a bay tree.

    Does it smell like a bay tree?

    When you crush the leaves do they have a lovely bright fresh fruity smell?

    I don’t bother to dry mine. I just pull one or two off the tree and bung them in the pan.

    Fantastic.
    That's what I do.

    I have read though that should you have a female, they berries should not be eaten. Mine is female and have opted not to eat them.
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,482
    When I look at what supermarkets charge for a few dried up bay leaves and my brown bin full of healthy, fresh  bay  tree clippings, it's a bit irritating to say the least.
    A bit like when you see what the garden centre is charging  for something you've been battling for years😡
    Nigella Lawson has a great recipe using lamb and fresh bay leaves.. A drop in the ocean but delicious nonetheless.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,526
    I like to put a couple of bay leaves inside a fish when I put it in the smoker. Mackeral is especially nice this way.
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    I think I'm just a bit wary, a, year or so ago our son decided to chew a leaf from a houseplant next to him. I can't remember the variety but suddenly his lips went funny etc. I googled it and it turns out its highly toxic and upon chewing it his tongue would have felt like he had broken glass in it etc.

    So, I have a scepticism towards things I could eat or use in food which I haven't planted myself!.. I googled and this turned up too, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/bay/which-bay-trees-are-edible.htm#:~:text=Edible Bay Leaves-,Are some bay leaves toxic?,chances if you are uncertain.

    However, to mistake a bay tree for a cherry laurel (which I also have), seems like mistaking a car for a motorbike! 
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    I had to Google it, it's a zz plant it seems. I think my wife picked it up in Waitrose. I remember she was very surprised something so toxic would just be generally on sale in a supermarket like that. 
  • Joyce GoldenlilyJoyce Goldenlily Posts: 1,354
    ChilliBob said:
    Hey everyone, we have two rather substantial bay trees in our garden. I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know that's what's they were until my Mum told me!

    My first thought was, cool, no need to nip to waitrose to try bay leaf for recipes!..

    But, some brief Googing led me to believe soke Bay trees, or similar, can in fact be poisonous.

    This is mine, any thoughts?

    I put a couple of leaves into rice pudding, rice to eat with curries, gravy with lamb, into the cavity of fish when cooking it whole. Bay is a lovely background herb to use. 
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