Bay leaves are a staple in my pantry. Filled with a warm aroma, bay leaves infuse this flavor into your cooking, usually during a slow cook process. Great for soups, stews, roasts, and sauces, I love using them when cooking beans and lentils too. The bay leaf tree is an evergreen and can grow very large. Bay leaves have been used for centuries and were used as a sign of importance. Thought to help colds and coughs, body aches and pain, bay leaves were not only used for culinary purposes, but medicinal as well. Bay leaves are meant to be used whole and removed before serving. I use them when boiling potatoes, in pickling, and in brines. One of my favorite recipes is to put the cut up pieces of a chicken in a dutch oven, add about 40 bay leaves, a few cloves of garlic and roast! I do this when roasting potatoes too! Bay leaves are an essential part of my herb pantry.