Plant of the Week: Sicillian Sunshine™ sweet bay

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away. If you haven't already planned the menu and guest list, you'd better get busy. Whether you go with a traditional turkey or a Tofurkey, odds are you'll be using bay leaves in your feast.
Our Sicilian Sunshine™ sweet bay is an ornamental selection, but you can certainly use the colorful foliage in cooking, too.

Sicilian Sunshine™ Laurus has stronger and more consistent gold color than 'Aurea', and has attractive red petioles that add a little extra color to gardens. It grows 4-10' tall and will grow in full sun or partial shade.

This USDA 8 plant is really best in Mediterranean climates, so it's not an option for those of us in colder climates. We can enjoy it as a potted plant, though. Here's a great opportunity for anyone looking for something fun and new to sell at Thanksgiving. Ornamental gourds and chrysanthemums have been done to death, How about a cute little sweet bay plant instead?

How important are bay leaves, really?

They don't seem like much. When making your shopping list for Thanksgiving or any other feast you probably have your mind on other, flashier ingredients. For sure you don't want to forget the cranberries or the turkey/turkey substitute. And the bay leaf is something that when you're halfway through a recipe and find out someone put an empty herb jar back in the cupboard, you might not think it's worth making an emergency trip to the grocery store. After all, it's not like it's chocolate or something obviously vital to culinary success.

Ah, but it is. Here's a science-y look at why bay leaves are important to your recipe. If you don't mind a little profanity, here's a pretty funny bunch of testimonials for bay leaves.

And so now you're ready to get on the bay leaf train. Let's make something with bay leaves!

The only problem? You're out of bay leaves! Who was the jerk who put the empty spice jar back in the cupboard? Probably the same person who used up all of the good mustard and hid the container in the back of the fridge. If only someone would give you a sweet bay plant to put on your Thanksgiving table...

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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