How long are bay leaves good for?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long are bay leaves good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of bay leaves. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot bad bay leaves.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long are bay leaves good for?

Dried bay leaves last for about 1-3 years when stored properly in an air-tight jar or container in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, when it comes to the fresh bay leaves, they last for about 2 weeks when stored properly in an air-tight container or resealable plastic zipper bag in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But it is recommended to use fresh bay leaves within 2-3 days to enjoy their optimum quality and taste.

Different ways to spot bad bay leaves

Certain indicators distinguish old bay leaves from fresh ones. You should consider the aroma, and flavor of your bay leaves to reach a final verdict on whether or not they are still fit for consumption.

Texture

If the bay leaves have been stored for too long at room temperature, 

Smell

The absence of the characteristic aroma or the weak aroma of the bay leaves is the indication that the particular spice is past its prime time.

Taste

If the flavor of the bay leaves is too weak, then it is an indication that the particular spice is past its prime time and it is better to discard it and use the fresh spice in place of it.

Can you get sick from eating expired bay leaves?

When it comes to bay leaves, you do not get sick from eating expired bay leaves as long as they were stored appropriately and there is no moldy growth on them. 

bay leaves are aromatic natural products who no doubt have a long shelf life but there is a certain time for which they can retain their best flavor and aroma and afterward their flavor and aroma begin to fade.

Thus we can say that bay leaves do not go bad in a conventional way and you won’t get sick after eating old bay leaves but they won’t have their characteristic aroma, color, flavor, and overall quality.

Thus bay leaves tend to lose their flavor and aroma over time and you will not get the same great flavor and aroma from old bay leaves like the one you get from the fresh ones.

If the bay leaves have expired and have significantly lost their aroma and flavor, it is better to toss them out but if you still insist on using them, then surely their consumption won’t cause any health problems. 

The bay leaves that are long past their expired date won’t impart the same great taste or aroma to your food. So if you are okay with using flavorless bay leaves or the ones with a weak aroma, you can go ahead and use them.

You can read more about bay leaves here.

Tips to properly store bay leaves

  1. Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and flavor of the dried bay leaves therefore bay leaves should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce their exposure to air.
  1. You should never use wet utensils to take the dried bay leaves out of their containers or jars.
  1. It is best practice to store dried bay leaves at room temperature as the fluctuations in temperature can affect the rich flavors of bay leaves negatively. Moreover, do not store them near a stove or air conditioner but if you want to further prolong their shelf life you can properly store them in the freezer in air-tight resealable bags. 
  1. Dried bay leaves should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.
  1. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the bay leaves jar or bottle and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the bay leaves that you need.
  1. Do not store your bay leaves jar or container in direct sunlight which can otherwise degrade the quality of bay leaves.
  1. In the case of fresh bay leaves, it is recommended to store them in a resealable plastic zipper bag in the fridge.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long are bay leaves good for” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of bay leaves. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot bad bay leaves.

Citations

https://gobadornot.com/bay-leaves/#:~:text=bags%20or%20containers.-,The%20Shelf%2DLife%20Of%20Bay%20Leaves,used%20within%202%2D3%20days.
https://www.doesitgobad.com/do-bay-leaves-go-bad/
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16462
https://www.luckybelly.com/do-bay-leaves-go-bad/
https://eatdelights.com/bay-leaves-expire/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.