I probably love lovage as much as the ancient Greeks and Romans did. Are you familiar with this Levisticum officinale? To me, the herb tastes like celery on steriods. It grows like a doping athlete, too — up to 9 feet tall if left unchecked. Fortunately, its culinary possibilities are unlimited. Have a look:
Although some in-the-know chefs like to add lovage leaves to a mixed salad, I find the crisp leaves make a marvelous salad all by themselves. And since lovage flowers late in the season, you can enjoy the raw foliage long after arugula, spinach, romain and other lettuces have bolted and become bitter.
The fat, pale-green stalks are delightful too. When I make this succulent Duck Breasts Mirepoix, I often use lovage as a superior, highly-aromatic substitute for regular celery.
If you live in USDA zones 4-8, lovage will prove perennial for you. Give it full sun, well-draining soil, and one inch of water per week. The plant flourishes in my own, Hudson Valley, NY garden (zone 5-b) from mid-April all the way through late September.
Have I convinced you to add this great herb to your collection of garden edibles? I certainly hope so. You won’t find it at your farmers’ market, let alone your grocery store. Consequently, if you want lovage — you’ll simply have to grow it yourself. The plant is rich in Vitamin C.
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