Harvesting Bay Leaves
When we planted the first batch of 1000 odd trees at Aanandaa, we planted 3 trees of the Bay Leaf or Tej Patta or Indian Bay Leaf or Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae. Its a popular leaf used for cooking, specially in pulaos or biryanis, and imparts a nice aromatic flavor. The leaf is also known for its medical benefits, ranging from cancer prevention to heart disease reduction to menstrual problem alleviation. The list is endless!
We harvest and use the Bay Leaves only for cooking. The idea time to harvest the leaves is when the sun is the hottest as that is when the oil production in the leaves is at its peak. We usually pick them in May or June. One can pick older leaves, as they have more oil.
Once the leaves are harvest, they should be left to dry under a fan in a well ventilated shaded area, away from the sun. Soon the leaves will dry without wilting. Then you can simply make small packets and sell them or give them away to family and friends!