Borage is a culinary herb mostly popular in Central Europe. Its light cucumber fragrance is usually suitable for salads prepared from raw vegetables. Sometimes borage is used to make pureed soups.
Borage is a favorite herb for flavoring summer drinks, usually fruit and wine cups. The blue and occasionally pink delicate flowers are edible. The leaves can be eaten in salads and the flowers added as decoration.
The blooms can also be candied. Watch out for the thorny like leaves. Tender leaves and star-shaped flowers have a very mild cucumber flavor. The plant grows wild in Central and Eastern Europe.
Boiling, frying and simmering will quickly destroy most of its characteristic fragrance.
Young flowers of borage can be pink and become blue only in the course of their individual flowering period.
Cultivation of Borage
Site: Open and sunny. Light soil, well drained area and full sun.
Propagation: Sow the seeds on site or in pots in April to July for summer flowers; autumn for spring flowers. Self-sows freely on light soils.
Growing: Set out 12 inches apart. Plant among roses or summer prune to keep tidy. Possible to grow small plants indoors. Borage does not like transplanting because of its tap root. Staking is sometimes necessary. Grows to 2 1/2 feet high and 2 feet wide.
Harvesting: Pick flowers and leaves. To use the fresh flowers, first remove the thorny back side. Rinse the flowers gently and pat them dry. They hold up well when refrigerated between two pieces of damp toweling.
Culinary Uses: Sprinkle flowers in salads and crystallized as a garnish for cake decorations. A colorful and tasty combination is shrimp and avocado, with a lemon vinaigrette and borage flowers.
Some people do not like the thistle like hairs on the leaves, but if you are not bothered by them, add the leaves to cold drinks for the cucumber flavor and cooling effect.
Chop leaves finely for salads, yogurt, soft cheese, pickles and sandwiches. Cook as spinach or with spinach. Also good added to ravioli stuffing.