As well as trimming the box hedges, Rob trimmed the large bay tree for the first time, I think, since we were given it 6 years ago! I took the branches that were trimmed and stripped the best leaves from them.
I usually use bay fresh from the bush, as we have 2 bay trees, but it seemed a shame to just throw these leaves away. After a little research, I decided to try drying them in the oven, using this method .
“Removed the best leaves from the stems. Lay the leaves on a paper towel, without allowing leaves to touch. Cover with another towel and layer of leaves. Five layers may be dried at one time using this method. Dry in a very cool oven. The oven light of an electric range or the pilot light of a gas range furnishes enough heat for overnight drying. Leaves dry flat and retain a good color.
When the leaves are crispy dry and crumple easily between the fingers, they are ready to be packaged and stored. Dried leaves may be left whole and crumpled as used, or coarsely crumpled before storage.”
with thanks to the University of Georgia.
I have weighed them down on a baking sheet with a cake cooling rack, and set the oven to the lowest setting.
I left the oven for about 7 hours-all day really. And when they emerged they were crisp and flat and had kept the colour quite well. I have packed them all into a small jam jar I sterilised and have put the top on. I think I may try to find some pretty jars and give them to unsuspecting people as presents!