Lovage

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Levisticum officinale

 

History

A Tall perennial herb with a flavour and aroma very similar to celery. Other members of the same family include carrot, parsley, and celery. Originally native to southern Europe it is now found throughout the temperate areas of Europe.

Growing

Lovage is easily grown from seed or divisions. It prefers a site in full sun to light shade. It prefers free draining light to medium soils. Its taproot does not like heavy soils.Protect base by mulching from extreme cold, but otherwise is frost hardy, but does not like wind. Likes regular moisture. Stems and leaves die back in winter, and sprout afresh in spring. with flower stems it can grow up to 1.6m.

Young leaves and stems can be harvested throughout the growing season, but are best before the flowers have formed.

Flavour is better fresh, but can be dried and stored in an airtight container for later use.

Maintenance

Feeding:  Not a heavy feeder, but benefits from regular moisture and mulch

Uses

All parts of the plant can be used. Often used where you would use celery. particularly the leaves, and stems. The fruits (seeds) are commonly used where celery or caraway seeds are used. Great in fish, soups, potato, and tomato dishes. The roots can be finely cut, cooked, and eaten as a vegetable, but are more usually dried and then eaten. The oil extracted from the roots is used as a flavouring, and in perfumery, soaps, and creams. The oil from the seeds has been used in liqueurs.