Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bay Laurel Flowers

The California Bay Laurel continues to surprise me.  First it was the revelation that young bay laurel leaves contain far less phenolic compounds and can be used to replace European bay leaves in classic recipes.  Then it was the bay fruit with its avocado like texture and floral aroma.  Recently it was the roasted bay nuts that grind into an aromatic – chocolate like paste.  Last week brought the first tiny buds to the bay trees on property and our small heat wave made a few of them blossom.  The flowers are very mild with a pleasant texture.  Upon nibbling a few this morning, I immediately thought it would be interesting to prepare them like capers.  While many people don’t realize it, capers are actually the unopened blossoms of a Mediterranean shrub which have been salted or pickled.  Having never tried fresh capers I can’t say how their flavor compares with that of bay laurel blossoms, but I suspect the texture is similar.  Over the next week or two we will be collecting as many blossoms as we can and preserving them for the coming year. 

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