Perennial lovage (Levisticum officinale) is endemic to the Mediterranean region and is a hardy perennial herb. It is closely related to carrots, celery, and parsley because it belongs to the Apiacaea family.
In ancient and medieval kitchens and gardens, this herb was used in its entirety for its leaves, roots, stems, as well as seeds.
Due to the fact that its name is derived from the term “love agony,” it was once used to create love potions and other erotica.
Despite the fact that lovage is unknown to most people in this day and age, it is an excellent addition to any herbal garden.
If you’d like to learn more about lovage, including how to produce it and how to include it in your cooking, please keep reading!
In relation to Lovage
Lavandula angustifolia, or lovage, is a big herbaceous plant that can grow up to six feet tall each year.
As the season progresses, it grows taller and bushier, with deep-divided green leaves resembling parsley or celery.
Lucuma has multi-branched umbels with tiny yellow flowers in late spring like other umbelliferous plants. They attract helpful insects to the garden because of their large, globular blooms.
All portions of the plant are edible, therefore growing lovage usually results in a bountiful crop. Soups, salads, sauces, and vegetables all benefit from the taste the leaves impart. There are many ways to cook the stems and roots, and the seeds can be used as a flavorful spice.
Lovage has a flavor that combines celery and parsley, making it a versatile ingredient.
Lovage Growing Conditions:
In the USDA, lovage grows well in zones 4–8.
Full sun to partial shade is ideal for lovage. It’s one of the few herbs that doesn’t mind being in the shadow.
Lovage thrives in soil that is rich and well-drained. Before planting, add compost to the herb garden.
Keep the soil well-watered. Mulch is an excellent way to keep moisture in the soil.
Compost tea can be used to enhance the growth of lovage during the growing season.
In the garden, lovage is a good friend to most plants and is often used to enhance the flavor of other plants in the vicinity. It’s a good idea to cultivate lovage alongside tubers like potatoes, yams, taro, and artichokes.
How to Grow Lovage
In the same way as celery and parsley require chilly circumstances to grow, so does lovage. Seeds that have been soaked in water overnight before planting will germinate better.
- For best results, plant lovage seeds 10 to 12 weeks before the last expected date of spring frost in your location.
- Seeds should be strewn on a small pot of soil and covered with a thin layer of soil or perlite.
- Keep the soil well-watered so it doesn’t dry out.
- In around two weeks, the seeds should begin to germinate.
- To ensure the best results, poke out the seedlings when they are about one inch tall.
- Hardening off and planting seedlings in the garden are both possible at a two-inch stage.
From Starter Plant:
Starting lovage from seed is a dicey proposition. To save time and effort, get starting plants from your local nursery. There is no need for more than one or two lovage plants for harvesting purposes.
- Lovage seedlings can be moved to the garden once the risk of frost has gone and nighttime temperatures are at least 40°F.
- The dirt around your planting area should be loosened.
- Compost can be added to the soil to improve its quality.
- 2 feet apart, with 2 feet between rows of plants.
- Deep and frequent watering is necessary until the plants are established.
From the Division
Lovage can be easily multiplied using spring division.
- Dig deep enough into the rosettes to catch plenty of roots when dividing them with a shovel.
- Put the cluster in a container or a bag of some kind. Retain some of the soil in which it was growing.
- Before bringing it inside, make sure you wet it with water.
- Plant in the yard and give it plenty of water.
How to Harvest Lovage
In order to promote new development, harvest lovage leaves and stems frequently during the growing season. Flavor is at its peak when the plant’s leaves are still young and sensitive.
To obtain the hollow stalks, the plant is trimmed near the ground.
The delectable seeds of lovage can be harvested by allowing the plant to blossom. When the seed heads are dry and brown in late summer, remove them. Get the seeds out of them by squeezing them between your fingers and placing them in a bag.
To begin harvesting the roots, your lovage plant should be at least two to three years old. Fork out a part of the plant’s roots before it blooms. Rinse them thoroughly, then cut them into 12-inch chunks. Thoroughly dehydrate them. Before using, take sure to peel the lovage roots.
When and How to Store Lovage
There are many ways to enjoy lovage outside of the growing season, despite the fact that it is ideal to utilize it shortly after harvest.
In order to lengthen the shelf life of lovage leaves and stems, they can be stored in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Dry lovage sprigs on their sides in a warm, dark place for extended storage. Because of this, the sooner you can dry them, the more flavorful they will be. A dehydrator or an oven can speed up the drying process.
Blanching and freezing lovage leaves are also options. Make ice cubes out of them by chopping them up and putting them in trays with water.
It is rare for fungus or disease to affect lovage, which is a hardy plant.
The characteristic squiggly burrowing lines in the leaves of lovage can be caused by leaf miners.
Fortunately, the damage caused by leaf miners is mainly superficial. Maggots can easily be removed from infected leaves by slicing them off.
Where to Buy Lovage Seeds?
The seed packets for lovage can be obtained online if you can’t locate them at the garden centre:
- Coastal West Seeds
- the renowned seed company Johnny’s Selected
12 Lovage Recipes
Use lovage whenever you’re looking for a fresh, aromatic, and savory flavor boost.
By the end of the season, lovage is essentially a bush, so there will be plenty of harvests to play with in the kitchen!
It can be used as a substitute for celery or celery seed in recipes. When substituting, use a less amount because it has a high potency.
1. Lovage Tea
Whether hot or cold, lovage tea is a refreshing and energizing drink.
Steep 1 teaspoon of finely chopped lovage leaves or shredded roots in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Take a sip and enjoy!
2. Lovage Stalks Sauteed
The long and hollow lovage stalks can be sautéed like celery for a quick and easy side dish.
Season lovage stalks with salt and pepper after they have been fried in butter or olive oil for one-inch lengths. Ready in less than seven minutes!
3. Lovage Creamy Soup
This soup is full of springtime tastes, including green onions, yellow onions, russet potatoes, bone broth, and lovage leaves finely minced.
4. Roasted Chicken with Lovage and Lemon
When it comes to zest, this bone-in chicken recipe is baked with thinly sliced lemons and extra lovage leaves tucked under the skin.
It’s a one-pot meal with roasted chicken, carrots, and onions.
5. Lovage and Potato Salad
Cold potato salad made with freshly cut fresh lovage leaves is robust and pungent.
6. Apple Lovage Chutney
Using this chutney canning recipe, you can preserve your bumper harvest by preserving an aromatic condiment with a long shelf life.
Apples, red peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic are combined with brown sugar and raisins in a dish that is also seasoned with celery seed, mustard seed, and ginger root.
7. Tomato and Lovage Passata
Pasta, pizza, rice, and other dishes all benefit from the versatility of tomato passata. You can use it as a base for bruschetta and pico de gallo.
Fresh lovage leaves and rapeseed oil infused with lovage give this passata a salty, savoury flavor.
8. Lovage Candied
Stalks of candied lovage (or angelica) are a nostalgic delight from long ago.
Once the lovage has been repeatedly put in hot syrup and allowed to cool overnight, the finished product can be stored in the refrigerator. Four times altogether, this operation is carried out. Granulated sugar is sprinkled over the candied lovage before serving.
In addition to garnishing cakes, cookies and pastries, candied lovage can also be used as a flavor enhancer. A unique twist on sodas, bloody Marys, and Caesar cocktails can be achieved by using this straw.
9. Lovage Salt
Celery salt can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from roasted meats and vegetables to soups and salads.
In a small bowl, combine equal parts of finely chopped leaves and sea salt. Allow the mixture to dry out in the sun for a few days before using.
10. Vinegar infused with lovage
Fresh lovage leaves can be used to flavor vinegar by being added to the jar halfway. Finish it off with a dash of vinegar, such as white, rice, or apple. For two weeks, store the jar in a dark place. Remove the fragments and store them in an airtight container until needed.
When creating vinaigrettes and cooking hot and sour soup, you can use this combination for basic vinegar.
11. Lovage Cordial
This euphoric brew is sure to put a spring in your step!
Crushed lovage seeds, sugar and vodka with black pepper and red pepper seeds, let it simmer in a sealed jar for a month before filtering and drinking.
12. Lovage Soda
A sweet syrup made from lovage leaves can be served with sparkling water on the side. If you want to make a big impression, try using a lovage stem as a straw.