Bay leaves are used to flavor stocks, stews, marinades, and soups, they are generally added at the beginning of cooking and removed before eating. Fresh leaves have lots more flavour than dried ones. Bay is the basis of much French cooking, bouquet garni has many variations but a bay leaf is essential.Bay trees, with their glossy green leaves, can be quite prolific. I have one about 2 feet (60 cm) high, which gives me all the bay leaves I need. Fresh bay leaves, however, can impart a slightly bitter flavour, so this is a herb which is far better used dried. To dry them is easy: just hang a branch in an airy spot and the leaves will dry in a couple of weeks. They are used probably more than any other herb, to flavour stocks, sauces, casseroles and marinades. Extract The distilled or evaporated oils of foods or plants (such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, bark, buds, roots, leaves, meat, poultry, seafood, fish, dairy foods, or eggs) that are dissolved in an alcohol base or allowed to dry to be used as a flavoring. Food extracts as they are often labeled, are used to add a concentrated flavor to many food dishes, especially baked goods and desserts, without adding additional volume. Available in solid (cubes, granules or powdered), liquid or jelled form, extracts may be labeled as pure, natural or artificial. Pure and natural extracts are governed by laws in many countries that require compliance with procedures that take the extract ingredients directly from the named flavor, such as extracting oils directly from the vanilla bean to make pure or natural vanilla extract. Artificial extracts are flavors that do not necessarily use any ingredients directly from a source named for the extract but instead used combinations of ingredients to arrive at a flavor representative of the named food extract, such as artificial lemon extract. Some of the most widely used extracts include vanilla, almond, anise, maple, peppermint, and numerous solid or jelled extracts such as beef and chicken bouillon or meat demi-glaces. As an example of how the pure and natural extract is made, vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in water and an alcohol-based solution where it ages for several months, during which time the vanilla flavor is extracted from the bean. Anise extract, a sweet licorice tasting flavoring, is produced by dissolving the oil of anise seeds into alcohol.