Lovage-a Versatile Herb for the Kitchen Garden

Lovage-a Versatile Herb for the Kitchen Garden
This was apparently introduced to England during Roman times. It naturalized, especially in rocky places, and was sometimes harvested from the wild.

In addition to this species, a related plant known as Scotch or black lovage, which is sometimes called alexanders, occurred in Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia. At one time, the plants were harvested and consumed to prevent scurvy and were also used the same way as lovage.

One of the customs during medieval times was to place lovage leaves in the shoes of travelers. These were supposed to have a refreshing effect. The ancient Celts reportedly dug the plant at night on Good Friday and used it as protection against witches and the devil.

The plant was used during the Renaissance for medicinal purposes and was recommended by Culpeper.

European colonists were responsible for introducing this to America. The plant appeared in Bernard McMahon’s title called The American Gardener’s Calendar, which was published in 1806 in Philadelphia. This included a list of recommended kitchen garden plants.

Culinary Uses for Lovage

Dioscorides wrote about its medicinal and culinary uses in the 1st century A.D. This appears in various recipes of Apicius, the renowned author and epicurean. One of his recipes was for truffle salad seasoned with lovage leaves. Another was for pickled onions with lovage. One of his sauces for eel featured plums and lovage.

This was a very popular herb in the Middle Ages. At that time, people made it into cordials and beer. Hildegard of Bingen used the plant as a flavoring.

Lovage was widely used for beer until the early 19th century. By the time MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux published his classic title, The Vegetable Garden in 1885, the plant had largely fallen out of favor and was used mostly for candy.

The blanched leafstalks and lower stems were eaten raw, candied, and used just like celery. The stalks taste like celery, but are stronger flavored.

The seeds, leaves, and stalks are used in stews, meat dishes, and salads in small quantities. Lovage is a very good seasoning for potato dishes.

The seeds are commonly called celery seed and are used pretty much the same way. These show up in bread, particularly in Slavic countries. Seeds are also added to herb salts and herb blends. Lovage seeds are also used in cheese, cookies, and salad dressings.

The leaves are used in soups, cheeses, vegetables, meats, stews, salads, sauces, and stuffing. The younger leaves are preferred because they’re more flavorful. Dried leaves are added to herb blends.

The plant is used to flavor mayonnaise, sauces, and soups. It is also prepared as a tea. For flavorful salads, rub the inside of the empty salad bowl with lovage. The roots are used the same way as the other parts of the plant.

The dried roots are used in tea and as a spice. The fresh roots are chopped and preserved in honey. These can also be used the same way as the other plant parts. The young root is tender and edible but becomes woody with age.

All parts of the plant can be frozen or dried.

The French word for the plant translates as false celery due to the similarity of the two. The features a sweet aroma and a pungent, warming taste. Due to its strong, distinctive flavor, it is generally used in moderation.

Other Uses for Lovage

The plant has appeared in various cosmetic and body care products, such as cleansers, deodorants, and bath products.

The hollow stems were sometimes used as drinking straws.

It has been recommended for various medicinal purposes over the years. This plant has a diuretic effect. It isn’t recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those with any type of kidney problem.

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Connie Krochmal. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Krochmal. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Krochmal for details.