At Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging roundup of a couple of weeks ago, I learned about growing your own bay leaves from Mae Gabriel at Rice and Noodles. Well, actually I've long known that you could grow bay leaves (also called laurel), because at my previous house in San Francisco, we had a cute, meatball-trimmed little laurel tree. But I never picked the leaves off for cooking. Dumb!
Since my parents recently gave Cranky and me a generous housewarming gift of money to be spent on a pot for the patio, I decided to grace the pot with a new laurel tree, from which I would pull leaves for braises and sauces and — well, we'll just keep thinking of ideas. Thanks for the nudge, Mae!
I know that there's an edible California laurel species. If I knew what it looked like, I might have foraged some bay leaves from neighbors' yards during August's Eat Local Challenge. But I was in the unknow.
At my wonderful local garden store the other day, I was shown a Greek laurel tree. "Bush," they called it, but they allowed it could be allowed to grow tall (and then it wouldn't have to share ignominious ignomenclature with a lyin', cheatin', law-breakin' president). The fellow who did the heavy lifting there — 30+ year employee, and still loving it — yanked off a leaf and crushed it for me to sniff. Ambrosia. (That's Greek!)
So there it is on the rain-spattered patio. I figure that's local enough.
No, Bean Sprout was not interested in posing with the new tree. Not today.