Whole bay leaves are essential to any well-stocked kitchen cupboard. The pungent, aromatic flavour of the bay, or laurel, leaf has been held in high esteem for centuries - Olympic champions were known to wear a wreath of bay leaves to commemorate their victory.
Ground bay leaves should not be readily substituted for whole bay leaves in every recipe. While whole leaves can be easily removed when the intended flavor is met during cooking process ground bay leaves will continue to build flavor, which can alter the desired outcome.
Uses: Add a couple leaves to stocks, soups, stew etc either on their own or with a mix of herbs in a bouquet garni for a delicious savoury herbal depth of flavour. Best results are achieved if the leaves are crushed slightly in your hand before use to release more of the essential oils.