With long, dull green leaves about ½ inch wide, judging this herb is not done with the eyes, but with the nose. The (lack of) fragrance of a bay leaf will tell you when it’s ready to be replaced.
Bay leaves are a traditional ingredient in split pea soup and spaghetti sauce, but can be used in most stews or sauces. If keeping whole, be sure to remove bay leaves from the serving plate as they will be tough to chew.
Pinch off leaves, lay out to dry on a cutting board and then store in an air tight jar – they will last about a year. For an even longer lasting herb, store your leaves in freezer-safe container and pull them out when you need them.