new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Culinary uses for lovage  RSS feed

 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have a hard freeze coming tonight so I am cutting herbs for dehydrating. I have a bed of lovage that got started very slow this spring and never flowered, but I've been harvesting it all summer for use in vegetable soups. I love the strong celery taste, and I was delighted that my first batch in the dehydrator dried up crisp overnight and retained much of its flavor. I'll be using the dried lovage to flavor savory dishes all winter, especially when I haven't been to the store and am out of celery.

I'm curious what uses other people make of lovage. It appears in many lists of grown plants here on permies.com, but few people actually discuss what they do with it.

The best web link I've seen for culinary uses is this one, that Judith Browning posted in an old thread. Warning, autoplaying video ads: http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_lovage.htm

Lovage is an excellent ingredient to add flavour or tang to your favourite soups, particularly those that contain potatoes, peas, beans and lentils. The herb and its derivative may also be used to spice up stews like chili, chicken pot pie, stir-fried vegetables and all favourite seafood cuisines. Addition of lovage to tasteless vegetables like summer squash adds flavour and savour to it.
You may chafe a salad bowl with lovage to give the crisp salad the essence and tang of fresh celery. However, there are a few things that need to be borne in the mind while adding lovage to different cuisines. Since the lovage leaves tend to be a little coarse, you always need to chop them up delicately. Similarly, stems of the lovage herb are generally fibrous and hence when you use them for preparing any cuisine, remember to do away with the stems before serving the dish. If you desire to eat the lovage leaf stalks raw like celery, don't forget to blanch them before consumption. Besides eating blanched lovage leaf stalks raw, you may also cover them with candy and use these to adorn cakes and desserts.
Even lovage seeds and roots are useful culinary items. Whole or grounded lovage seeds may be added to candy, meats, breads and aromatic crackers or biscuits. The lovage seeds are also useful for preparing pickles like capers. On the other hand, you may finely shred fresh lovage roots and add them in different salads or cook and serve them like any other tasty vegetable. However, remember to peel the outer skin of the roots before using them for they are pretty pungent to taste. Grated and dried lovage roots may also be consumed as an aromatic beverage. Steep 5 ml or one teaspoon finely shredded dry or fresh lovage roots in 250 ml or one cup of boiling water for a vigorous and stimulating tea.


For those interested, the variety I am growing is labeled Lovage "Magnus" (Levisticum officinale) that I bought from Seed Savers Exchange (#816). The SSE packaging says "Used extensively in preparing soups and salads" but in my growth conditions, even the new leaves are rather strongly-flavored for salads.
 
Adam Moore
Posts: 123
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Dan, we are getting our first hard freeze tonight also. This was the first year I grew Lovage and I love it. One of my favorite herbs now. So far I have used it in soups and a bit in stirfry. I also like to pick and eat some when I come home from work. I plan on never buying celery again and just use Lovage. My neighbor is from Norway and recognized the plant right away. He said he grew up on Lovage soup. I'll have to ask him more details on the recipe.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sweet, that would be awesome. I don't find Lovage a substitute for celery (which I enjoy eating raw for its texture) but it's great to have an easy way to get that similar flavor right in my herb garden at all times. And it's my impression that if my plants survive the winter (which they should) they'll get a lot bigger next year -- some sites say they grow to five feet tall, and mine only got to about 18" this year.
 
Adam Moore
Posts: 123
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I started mine indoors before planting in the spring and they only grew to about 18 inches also but very thick.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As you already found out, Dan, Lovage is a favorite of mine. I grow from seed also and have great germination and healthy young plants until the heat and humidity of our summers and then they don't have a very good survival rate. There is a leaf miner here that also causes a blight or something that will eventually kill the plant. I had two year old plants survive another summer here this year though...I planted them in among some turnips and other greens. I don't think I could ever grow more than we could eat.
When I have enough I use it with eggs, in salads, any place you would use parsley or celery or really almost any herb...very flavorful...we loved it with sauted shiitakes and also with fried potatoes. I found like you say, that it dries well. wonderful herb
We also cut and use the very young stalks as you would celery...they seem to get tough here really quick as the weather warms.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan Boone wrote: it's my impression that if my plants survive the winter (which they should) they'll get a lot bigger next year -- some sites say they grow to five feet tall

Yip. Massive.
It still dies back in my mild climate, but by the end of the season the flower stalks are at least 6 foot tall
I actually dug out my lovage plant as I never get round to eating it and it was in the way.
It's clearly one of those plants that survive if you leave a bit of the tap-root in, because it's back.
I'll give it another go, and try drying the leaves for winter:
I only use it in soups, stocks, stews etc and I generally make them during winter when the triffid's 'asleep'
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for all the info.

Judith, I didn't see any insects or blight on mine this year, but we are not so far apart, so I'll keep my eyes open. I am hoping my bed of lovage will be permanent, but I did figure it would need to reseed itself to ensure that.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Breaking news: lovage really is a perennial!



I know my enthusiasm may seem foolish, but last year was my first year deliberately planting perennial herbs, and as mentioned at the beginning of this thread, my lovage didn't really take off. So I wasn't entirely sure it would survive the winter. My delight is because it's coming up gangbusters now.

I'm still mindful of Judith's experience of having the plants not be long-lived in our hot climate, so I am germinating another half-dozen seeds as we speak. But I'm still tickled that it's coming back well from the roots. I have big plans to dry rather a lot more this year.

 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 250
Location: S. Ontario Canada
7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a plant I brought from my mothers garden many years ago, impossible to kill. It grows very well here in zone 5 -I'll cut the older growth right back after the flower stalk gets to 4 feet or so.
I would really miss my eggs with dried lovage and black pepper sprinkled on top.
Black lovage (Alexanders?) is much milder. If you like Caesars(or even just tomato juice), try using a hollow lovage stem as a straw or crush a fresh leaf in a glass.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My lovage is growing strongly and I'm harvesting leaves almost every day to flavor soups and pots of beans. Today I even ate a salad of young lovage leaves, lambs quarters, green onions, cilantro, pea tops, and young radish seed pods, mixed with grocery store cukes, tomatoes, and a sad cubed Bartlett pear, all dressed with my patented dressing of mustard, orange juice, onion powder, salt, and nutritional yeast.

Tonight I was going through Google results for Lovage, trying to learn more about its uses and cultivation. I came across this gem from the Penn State cooperative extension:

Companion planting: Lovage helps to promote vigorous growth in potatoes or other root vegetables. Plant in small patches or as a border.


REALLY? This I have got to try!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have one (out of four) lovage that is back this year. I think it may have survived only because it was camouflaged by other plants (clover, burdock, chicory, turnips) ....I'm going to eat lightly on it this summer and hope I can dig, divide and take some with us when we move. So far the leaf miner hasn't found it
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Judith, I live in terror that your lovage difficulties will find my house.

This year I have four plants (of which two are vigorous) in a square galvanized washtub. One is just starting to flower. I am contemplating digging up the two unhappy ones and giving them real root access to the ground in tire planters, but I'm not going to risk messing up the flowering ones until they go to seed. Once I have some fresh seed, I'm going to try to get a bunch of plants going. I love this stuff!
 
Heather Ward
Posts: 79
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a lovage plant that is reliably perennial and I almost wish it wasn't. I love strong and bold flavors of all kinds, and love herbs, but one leaf of lovage in a large pot of stock means all I can taste is lovage. I wonder if it's genetic, a sort of Super-Taster issue. All I can say is that I can't abide food with very much lovage in it.
 
Roy Hinkley
Posts: 250
Location: S. Ontario Canada
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heather - I find fresh overpowering as well, try drying lovage leaves and grinding into a powder. Then sprinkle on top.
 
Heather Ward
Posts: 79
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Roy! I would love to make more use of this antioxidant-loaded plant, and will try your suggestion.
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 730
Location: USDA Zone 8a
48
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any suggestions on starting lovage from seed. I tried using peat pellets, I germinated with a paper towel and it looked like it was starting to germinate so I planted it outdoors. No luck so I planted it again about a month ago. Maybe it is too hot here in 7b?
 
Kyle Emory
Posts: 16
Location: Portland, OR
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When my father-in-law came to visit from Romania a couple years ago, he picked up a couple lovage plants at the nursery telling my wife and I that it was a necessary herb for the garden. Well, his two-month visit ended and while my wife can make a good Romanian ciorba-style soup with lovage, it's not something we eat all too often so we had to figure out some different things to do with all the leaves the plants are producing this year.

We have tried it in different things and have found that it can be very good as a parsley substitute in tabouli-style salads. Mixed half and half with mint, was what worked best for us. Lovage has also worked well as a pesto and in pico de gallo (although the lovage flavors can be quite strong for these two uses and could be used in conjunction with other herbs to suit your taste).
Making a lovage simple syrup is also a good way to quickly use up a lot of leaves and is really refreshing mixed with some cold mineral water.

I've actually added a couple more lovage plants to the garden this year since I've found it to be so useful and easy to grow.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
346
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anne Miller wrote:Any suggestions on starting lovage from seed. I tried using peat pellets, I germinated with a paper towel and it looked like it was starting to germinate so I planted it outdoors.  No luck so I planted it again about a month ago.  Maybe it is too hot here in 7b?


I used to follow this thread and somehow lost it ...I've started lovage from seed in the past successfully (I just can't keep the plants alive past a year or two). 

I think the trick is to have really fresh seed and press it onto the surface of the soil.  Barely cover if at all because apparently it needs some light to germinate and then keep the soil moist...I covered the flat with a piece of window glass but then you need to watch closely and keep out of direct sun.  They don't need direct sun until germination, just light.  I start them in flats and then transplant when they are out growing the flat.  This has always worked in the past...I had so much one year I was giving it away at my plant exchange. 

This year though, I can't get it to sprout at all.  Same seed company, I think....it might just be too old.

My two year old plant died over the winter.

I would love to be able to grow large amounts as you are Kyle   
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!