Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a tall perennial plant, with a flavour reminiscent of celery and anise blended together. It has a strong and distinctive flavour quite unlike other herbs. Lovage is an ancient plant, which was very popular during the Middle Ages. It has been said to possess qualities of a medicinal nature. Specifically, lovage aids the digestive system, chest ailments and urinary tract infections. It is also said to have body-cleansing properties. One can use it to cook with, or as a garnish or addition to salads. Tonight I am enjoying a cup of lovage tea – although I am not certain “enjoying” would be the word I would use. It really is a strange and unique flavour, but as I drink it I think I am beginning to like it more.
Until a few years ago, I really had no idea what this plant was. I had heard of lovage, but had never tasted or cooked with it. So last year while chatting with a vendor at a craft show, I learned all about this marvellous plant and bought some. It grew happily in my garden last year, although aside from tasting a leaf or two and enjoying the beauty of the plant, I didn’t do much else with it. This years growing season is just underway, and already my lovage plant is enormous!
I will endeavour to find more lovage recipes to pass along here. From what I am reading, it goes well with chicken and fish as well as potatoes and some peas, beans and legumes. Personally, I would recommend that however you chose to use lovage, that you do so sparingly! Not only is the flavour strong, I can attest to the fact that the tea does indeed have body-cleansing-properties! Take that as you wish – I would suggest that you don’t over-do it as it seems to pack a bit of a punch 😉
Until I branch out and make something spectacular with my crop of lovage, here is a nice-looking recipe I sourced on-line for a Potato and Lovage Soup.