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Bay leaves, to eat or not?

I've always heard that your have to remove bay leaves after preparing food, before they can be eaten. They never soften and could possibly get stuck in a person throat and injure them. But I've been served restaurant food containing intact bay leaves. So what's a cook to do?

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  1. Pull the bay leaves. If you wind up with one on your plate anyway, set it aside. Politely. ;)

    1. Bay leaves are not for eating.

      Sometimes they're left in food to intensify the bay flavor, but if you are served food with a bay leaf in it, remove the leaf before eating.

      1. Unless they are fresh off the tree and shredded they won't soften enough to eat - dried they tend to remain quite sharp edged and tough but there is nothing inherently poisonous or dangerous other than their texture.

        4 Replies
        1. re: OCEllen

          so if you fancy intestinal bleeding, eat away. strangely, they get sharper in the belly...

          1. re: Chowrin

            Seriously? Intestinal bleeding?? :|

              1. re: sunshine842

                That's harsh. From a stupid leaf at that...

        2. people foolish enough to swallow them whole will live and probably not even notice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sushigirlie

            you should get that translated into some other language so it sounds pithy.

            preferably one that can make it rhyme.

          2. If you find the whole bay leaf or large pieces in something that's served to you it is best to simply remove them and set them aside. They are essetially inedible. However, if you've enjoyed Indian food, you have probably eaten some without knowing it as it is used in some formulas for garam masala. But that's ground so fine I doubt you'd even detect its physical presence.