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Borage is one of my favourite herbs, and I always find room for it in my herb garden; in fact, I grow it amongst my flowers in the herbaceous border. Its pretty vibrant blue star-shaped flowers (Borage is sometimes called the Star Herb) are wonderful when added to salads and drinks. The leaves, which taste of cucumber, are also an essential ingredient to soups, salads, drinks, creams and butters. I often add borage flowers when serving alcoholic drinks and fruit drinks. Borage is especially good with claret cup or wine cup, as in this recipe. You can also add borage leaves and flowers to hot or iced tea or lemonade. Borage is an excellent culinary herb and can be used in a variety of ways. Borage is far better when used fresh, as the flavour and colour deteriorate when it is dried and some essential oils are lost. Traditional recipes recommend borage leaves and seeds, together with fennel in salads for increasing the milk supply in nursing mothers. The leaves and flowers are also added for flavour and garnish to wine cups, Pimms and gin-based summer cocktails and the flowers are still candied for confectionary as cake and ice cream decorations.
- Blend brandy, sugar, wine, juice and ice until combined.
- Combine champagne, lemonade, ginger ale, borage and wine mixture in large bowl just before serving.
- Serve in chapagne flutes and decorate with borage flowers.
- Notes on Borage: Borage is a traditional herb used as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and anti-inflammatory. It was also thought to relieve symptoms of melancholy. Borage is a native of the Mediterranean but is well adapted to growing in British soils.
- These days, borage is rarely used in cooking or grown in the common herb garden. It is a beautiful plant with delicate blue flowers. The leaves, flowers and stalks of borage are edible, however borage is a voracious grower and can take over a garden very quickly. This has lead to a decline in its popularity as a garden plant and also as an ingredient in meals.
- Using Borage in Cooking.
- Borage is a versatile herb in the kitchen; its leaves, stalk and flowers are edible. The young, fresh leaves have a mild cucumber taste and can be added to salads, used in stocks, soups and stews, or brewed to make a refreshing tea. You could also try adding them to sandwiches instead of lettuce, or chopping them and adding them to cream cheese or yogurt. When cooked, borage leaves may be used as a substitute to spinach. Don’t be put off by the fine white hairs on the leaves, as once in the mouth they quickly dissolve. They also disappear when cooked.
- Borage flowers are beautiful and both look and taste fantastic in salads. They can also be preserved or candied. Why not try freezing some in ice cubes and adding them to drinks or simply floating the blooms in a glass of lemonade?
- The stems of borage are used to flavour a number of alcoholic beverages, including Pimms No. 1. In Spain the stems are parboiled and fried in batter. Chopped up, they make a great addition to soups and can also be eaten raw; giving a hearty crunch to salads.