Thursday, September 8, 2011

Borage Aplenty


Before moving to Germany, I knew next to nothing about the herb borage. Even after moving into our house and finding a bunch of furry, blue-flowered plants out back, The Husband and I didn't know what they were (nor, oddly, did our garden-happy neighbor, who is older and has lived in this area all her life--turns out she's more of a Flower Person). After asking another German friend, we learned that our plants were, in fact, the edible herb borage. I really wasn't sure how to use them, especially since the leaves and stems are fairly spiky, so I didn't bother with them for a long time. 

Though we got rid of most of what we had while putting in two raised beds, a couple of the plants came back heartily this summer (apparently they pretty much grow like weeds in our area and are sometimes used in a well-known Frankfurter "green sauce" eaten with potatoes at certain times). I decided it was time to learn more about this free food growing next to our strawberries and tomatoes. According to some of my research, borage is a good anti-anxiety/stress, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diarrheal herb that can also help with hormone regulation, fevers, skin ailments, and coughs. Flavor is cucumber-like, and in fact, borage is often paired with cucumbers in recipes.



We've started using the leaves to make tea--a good way to avoid/diminish the spikiness of the leaves. To infuse, pour a cup of boiling water over 1/4 cup bruised fresh leaves. Steep five minutes. The flowers can also be used in teas or in drinks or atop salads or desserts. Since our own plants aren't supplying us with as many leaves as we've been wanting lately, we did a bit of--um, foraging during our bike ride the other day. Don't worry, our neighbor has plenty to spare!

Here's a good link about using borage, and here's another one, with recipes

7 comments:

Carrie said...

I've seen these plants before too, but this is the first I've heard about them being edible. I might have to do some "foraging" of my own...

Monica {bohemian twilight} said...

lucky you! borage is a wonderful medicinal herb.

Samurai Mom said...

The flowers are edible too, and it is good for lactating mothers.

hausfrau said...

And there was I thinking the key use for borage was putting the flowers in Pimms!

coco said...

i didn't know it is a herb too. now i am interested in finding it here.

Hausfrau said...

hausfrau, that's one use I forgot to mention! :)

Coco, please let me know if you find borage in Japan! When I lived there, I didn't know what it was.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

We have lots of borage in the spring here but I've never really done anything with it. Also loved seeing your post on nettles because we have lots of those two...not such a welcome part of my winter garden, painful! Off to check out the links you listed.

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