Growing Lovage

July 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

Lovage, alias maggi or lavas, is a very old herb ~ it was very popular during the Middle Ages when it could be found in almost every kitchen garden.

Every part of the plant – leaves, stems, roots and seed – is edible, and can be used for medicinal, culinary or cosmetic purposes. It’s taste is like celery, but a bit stronger.

Due to its size ~ 1 to 2 m. high ~ and solid green leaves, it needs a roomy place in the garden. One plant is enough for an entire family. It can also be grown in a large pot, or in a tub on a balcony.

 

Sowing

Lovage prefers full sun to light shade and a rich, moist, well-drained soil. Germination takes about ten to twelve days. When you transplant to the garden or pot outside, keep it well watered for the first couple weeks, and feed with a natural fertilizer.

Maintenance

Lovage dies back to the ground in winter, and regrows in spring.

Either harvest the seeds or cut the stalk. This encourages leaf growth and prevents wild reseeding in the garden.

After a few seasons, either use division ~ it will do much better after that ~ or start anew. You can give the root to a fellow gardener to plant and grow their own.

Harvesting

Fresh leaves is best, after the dew has gone. Do not wash the leaves or aromatic oils will be lost. To keep you in Lovage over the winter, you can dry or freeze the leaves to preserve its flavour ~ Either dry and tie the cuttings in small bunches and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room, or blanch a handful of leaves in boiling water quickly then throw into ice water for a couple of minutes. Drain, place in plastic freezer bags and freeze. The frozen Lovage can be minced and used in cooked dishes.

Cut stems from the outside, leaving the center intact, and chop up to use in recipes. You can also dry the stems and grind them as needed.

Seeds can also be used. They have a sweeter flavor than the leaves and can be used pretty much like celery seed. Allow the seed from the seed stalk to ripen until they begin to turn brown, then cut the stalk and dry the seeds.

You can use the root by washing it, and cutting it into small pieces. Dry the pieces on a screen and store away from light.

Remedies

Lovage is an herbal medicine used for upset stomach and to increase urine flow whenever a mild infection is present in the urinary tract.

Recipes

Lends a wonderful flavor to soups, stews, stocks, salads, meat, potato and tomato dishes. Great in tomato soup!

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