Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Love that Lovage
I discovered this plant few years ago when was shopping in our local Garden Center. I walked through the shelves reading tags... "Lovage" - I pinched the leaf and was surprised finding very pleasant taste with a hint of nut+celery.
Plant Facts: This hardy perennial belongs to the Umbelliferae family, which also includes parsley, fennel and celery. Like celery, it has a hollow stem and serrated leaves. Lovage is one of the earliest herbs to appear in the garden at the beginning of spring. Its flowers grow in clusters ranging from green to yellow.
Native to Europe and southwestern Asia, the shrub now thrives where there is full sun and fertile soil. Its leaves and seeds all have therapeutic properties.
Lovage is tasty, too; although quite similar to celery in its appearance and flavor, this herb is able to retain its flavor in slow-cooked soups and stews.
Using just a pinch of lovage, you can impart the sharp flavor of celery to stuffing, creamed soups, stews and even potato salads; its seeds work well in pickling brine and dressings. In its medicinal form, lovage has been prized since the Middle Ages for treating all manner of ailments. Known primarily as a dependable yet gentle diuretic, lovage has been especially useful in reducing water retention and swelling in the feet.