Lovage is associated with the element fire and its planetary ruler is the sun. The common name refers to the plants European reputation as a love charm. When a sachet of lovage is placed in the bath it is said to make you more attractive and love inspiring. Though largely a forgotten herb now, the lovage plant was cultivated in medieval times for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Lovage is a very old herb with properties perfect for today's healthy lifestyles. Its unique flavor, which is a combination of anise and celery, can be used as a salt substitute, plus it gives extra flavor to vegetarian soups and stews. You can use it much like you would celery or parsley with a lighter hand as it has a stronger flavor. Lovage works well in potato and tomato dishes, or anything in the starch category. Every part of the plant is edible; use leaves in salads, sauces, and soups. Lovage stalks are also used to replace meat in main dishes.
Lovage is a perennial and is very easy to keep in the garden; it can be propagated by offsets, and it is very hardy. Before you plant, consider how much space can be devoted; mature plants will reach 4 to 7 feet tall, which makes it the perfect backdrop for any garden. It grows best in deep rich loam and full sun, and grows well in large containers, too.
Harvest & Storing
Both leaves and stems may be dried for winter use, too. To prepare the foliage for your spice shelf, just swish the stems in water, then clip off the leaflets and spread them out on a parchment lined tray to dry until they're ready to be stored in airtight containers. A dehydrator works well if you have one, and lovage can also be hung to dry on the stem in a cool dry spot. The seed heads (which mature in August) should be laid out flat to dry, then put in a large bag and shaken to remove the seeds. Mason jars make great storage containers as long as they are stored in a dark cabinet.
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