Gardening

Liking that lovage

Every once in a while we’ll be making something that calls for celery, such as potato salad or chicken soup. I’ll check the fridge only to find out there’s no celery in the crisper drawer. Not to fear, there’s a perennial plant growing in the garden that’s always on standby for such an eventuality — that plant is my lovable lovage.

I’ve been growing lovage for many years; it such an easy plant to grow. And once it gets established, it seems to grow forever barring any drastic mishaps; like letting the chickens roam in the garden in early spring forgetting that the lovage was there. But I digress.

Its celery flavor is what I go for, but it has other uses as well, uses I’ve never tried. The herb is stronger tasting than celery but is much sweeter. All parts are edible. Homemakers in the past have used the seeds for flavoring breads, cakes and a whole lot of other foods. They’ve even added lovage leaves to cookie dough. A type of candy made from lovage was very popular at one time. The root is edible too.

Lovage stems are hollow. Want to impress your friends and go on more dates? Use lovage stems instead of straws when serving bloody Marys.

My lovage is well over 5 feet tall and full of blossoms. It is really enjoying the regular rains we’ve been getting this spring. I have it growing in a sandy, well-drained area in full sun but my guess it will grow just about anywhere.

Lovage also has medicinal value that helps to ease digestive problems.

You don’t hear much about lovage being used in the kitchen very often these days. Maybe back in the olden days it was grown a lot more because it has so many uses.  Then as people became more prosperous they started using store-bought herbs and spices; that’s just a guess on my part.

Chefs nowadays are always looking for that next big thing or that unique taste sensation that will bring them adulation from their patrons and admiration from their peers. I reckon lovage might be that flavor they’re looking for — it’s poised for a comeback in a big way. Hmmm —  maybe I’ll start a lovage farm.

 

 

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.