2009 Herb of the Year:
~ BAY LAUREL (Laurus nobilis) ~
This herb has been largely relgated to the kitchen, though in history it was associated with accomplishmentand so was used as wreaths for the heads of leaders and Olympiad winners. It's oil possesses properties that aid with sprains/bruises and powders were used to aid in digestion and "obstructions of fluids" in the body.Today, cooking with Bay consists of adding its leaves to soups or brews to cook/steep and then removing them before serving as even cooking does not soften them enought to be ingested without danger of injuring the throat.
My personal experience with Bay is very limited-and in fact I have never cooked with them-but, I buy whole leaves to be used in potpourris (their size and color add a lot of contrast). They can also be used to make nice tree ornaments or as a decorative craft project for kids :
Using a hot glue gun, glue tips of similar size leaves together from the center forming a circular mat. Then glue a dried flower (calendula or straw flowers are perfect--I find yellow or purple to be the best colors). On the back, loop a piece of ribbon (ribbed or velvet ribbon looks best). These look very colonial and last for years.
*Read more about BAY Laurel