Lovage - How to Cook and Grow

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A member of the Angelica family also known as Sea Parsley, Love Parsley, Smallage and European Lovage, this hardy perennial grows rapidly and to a height of two meters by a meter across. Used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a cure for flatulence and general digestive symptoms it is often sadly neglected in todayís kitchens.


Lovage
 

How to Grow

Sow the seeds under glass in the spring and transplant when hardened off and the threat of frosts has passed. Preferring a well-drained soil it will thrive in partial shade or in a suitably large container. Keep cutting to encourage new growth. Lovage is a strong herb, which stands up well to the vigourís of the changing seasons and does not require protection in the winter.

How to Cook

Lovage has a strong flavour similar to celery and when combined with the latter makes a fine soup. Use the leaves when they are still quite young avoiding any which have turned brown at the edges. If the plant has flowered then use sparingly as the leaves become slightly bitter. The leaves can also be blanched as for spinach and nettles to make an excellent green pasta or gnocchi. If using in a herb leaf salad I would advise cutting it into strips and using it in moderation otherwise its taste will dominate.

Content and picture © Miles Collins

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