Autumn is the time of the year when we preserve herbs for winter. They will come in handy not only healthwise but also as tasty ingredients. And soup is an essential part of your winter diet, since it perfectly warms up your body. What herbs are the best to serve the purpose?
Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Lovage is a traditional seasoning used especially in Central Europe. As it grows spontaneously in many gardens as weeds, requiring no care whatsoever, we sometimes forget how beneficial to our health this plant might be. And that’s a shame.
Lovage contains a lot of vitamin C and A, minerals, tannins, organic acids, bitter chemical agents, resin, sugars, furocoumarines, and essential oils. These cause the spasmolytic effect of the plant (inhibiting painful contractions, colic of smooth muscles, intestines, bladder, and urinary tract).
Lovage helps cure bladder inflammations and kidney problems and is popular in naturopathy. It also helps improve digestion and supports stomach activity and appetite. It is often used as an ingredient in tea blends, as it reduces flatulence. Lovage can alleviate fatigue and refreshes the body, lowers uric acid levels in the blood, and stimulates the nerves. Externally, it can help eliminate swells and heal bad wounds.
Use in cooking:
All parts of the plant can be used in cooking – the leaves, the seeds, and also the roots. It is most often used to season soups and sauces, roast meat, and stewed vegetables. You can also add it to a marinade or a dressing.
Lovage leaves slightly resemble those of parsley but are significantly bigger. It can grow up to two meters (6ft 6in) in height. To grow lovage, plant root sprouts or seeds in the ground. Do that ideally in early spring, late summer, or fall. The soil should ideally contain humus with enough nutrients, but lovage is a tough plant which can grow practically anywhere without problems.
The place should be sunny or semi-shady. Lovage loves a lot of water but can survive without any water at all for quite a long time. It is prone to infection by many kinds of parasites and diseases, though, and for this reason it should not be planted where plants of the Apiaceae family (commonly known as the celery, carrot or parsley family) have been planted.
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