The bay leaf is an essential ingredient in a bouquet garni (a bundle of herbs used to season stock and soups) or can be used by itself to add flavour to gravy or soups. A dried bay leaf retains its strong flavour when stored properly. Cooks often remove the bay leaf from the dish before serving, as its primary purpose is to add flavour during the cooking process. Over time the bay leaf's flavour will diminish. Depending on how it is stored, use dry bay leaf within six months to a year for optimum flavour.
Wrap the fresh bay leaf in a paper towel.
Place the wrapped leaf in a plastic food storage bag and seal.
Put the plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will last about a week. Do not freeze a fresh bay leaf.
Put the dry bay leaf in an airtight container.
Store the container in a cool, dry area.
Place the container in the freezer for a longer shelf life. If freezing, use a plastic freezer bag as the container.