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Have you ever heard of Lovage? What IS it? It is not a common plant and many people have never heard of it.
Lovage is a wonderful plant that gets quite large. It’s a herb and you can pick the leaves to add to your dinners fresh. It’s related to Parsley although it grows a lot larger!
Lovage levisticum officinale is the proper name. Earliest history comes from Greece and it’s moved throughout Europe and is now here in North America.
It has a strong flavour, not unlike celery, but stronger than that. This culinary herb tastes great in salads with other greens; it really adds a zing. You can use it in soups and stews as well.
How to Grow Lovage
You can order seed, and start seeds indoors or you can buy one perennial plant.
They are not stocked at many garden centers, though, so grab one if you find it!
You may also know someone who already has a plant that is willing to share with you.
Lovage is easy to divide; just dig it up and split it in half with a shovel. Replant to make more plants or give one away to a gardening friend.
And it’s easy to grow. Plant somewhere where it will get full sun, which it loves. Just add some well aged compost to the planting hole before you add your plant.
That’s about it – just water it as needed. It does like regular watering, so don’t let it get too dried out.
Lovage starts showing some growth in April and by mid-May, you should easily be able to snip a few leaves to add to dinners or salads.
Here’s the same plant later in the season. It’s grown a bit, hasn’t it? We have it growing alongside our Rhubarb plants and love the way the two look together.
We also have a lot of blooming Chive herbs along the front of the bed.
Lovage will grow about six feet tall – that’s a LOT of leaves you can harvest and dehydrate.
And, it’s a pretty looking herb that grows to the size of a shrub each year. Since the plant grows so large, you can get a great harvest!
And a bonus is that this herb is a perennial! So plant it once, and every year it will come back and grow large again.
You will find it easiest to cut the stalks with a good sharp pair of hand pruning shears. The stems are hollow but large.
And it’s best to cut the stalks, instead of just bending them over. This tends to rip the stalk.
Cut the individual stalks down close to the base of the plant. Regular trimming will really help as the plant grows so fast, it can get out of hand quite easily.
Here’s a full basket of freshly cut stalks. I’ll bring it up to the house and start snipping leaves stems (the smaller ones). We will use some fresh and some to preserve for later.
To preserve this or any herb, you can easily dry it. Here’s an article I wrote on How to Dry Herbs.
Herbs are always better when they are used right away, but that’s not always possible, depending on the season.
It’s so easy to store a jar or two for using all season!
Whenever a dish you’re cooking could use a celery flavor, add a pinch or three to whatever is cooking on the stove.
You can also dry the leaves whole, then follow the same instructions for storage. Be sure the leaves are fully dry before storing. Then use them whenever you like.
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