When you think of dinner most people think of the main dish, then vegetables and starch that would round out the meal. I do the same thing. Since I have a garden full of herbs, thinking one step further for me would be the herbs that I can use in the dish. Herbs can make a dinner plate go from good to fantastic. The right balanced seasoning can make excellent local food something to savor and experience.
In today’s busy lifestyles our food often gets thrown to the back burner and we only remember to make food when we are starving. So, if we even cook, it is usually quick and probably doesn’t involve many herbs. Then, we gobble it down so fast we have to remember if we actually ate something and wonder what it was.
Eating food is something we HAVE to do everyday. We can’t live without it. Not for long anyway. Why not make this daily experience a part of our life. It doesn’t have to take loads of time, but it might involve locally grown foods, including herbs of course.
Ever heard of Lovage (Ligusticum Levisticum)? Probably unlikely. Well it’s been around for a long time. It’s an Old World herb that is a great substitute for celery. It is actually more pungent than celery so you can use less. The leaf, flower and roots are all usable. Looking to be more sustainable? This is an easy one for us in the Northeast. Use locally grown lovage instead of celery that is trucked across the country and keep your carbon footprint a little lighter.
Lovage is a garden perennial (think, permanent – comes back each year), and grows well in full sun to light shade. It also grows well here in New England. It is in the parsley family so it has a thick root system. It grows 5-7 ft tall, so plan the garden accordingly. It is easy to harvest the leaves and stocks and dries well to keep the celery flavor going throughout the winter. What more could any gardener ask for than a such an easy to grow plant. Not planning a garden, but would like some lovage? Know that it is available locally, it is available fresh throughout the growing season and dried in the fall right here at Terra Basics.
Another overlooked bit of information about herbs is that they can provide nutrition. They are usually packed with nutrients as well as have other properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-vitals and more. Herbs can help us in many ways as well as round out our culinary palate.
Here’s some ideas for using lovage:
Chop a few leaves and add to your green garden salad, or mince and add to salad dressing.
Add minced leaves to Tuna or Chicken salad.
The stocks can be added with bones when making a broth.
Add dried or fresh leaves to your stock or soup.
Mince with other herbs to make a nice fresh rub for a roast.
It makes a great garnish!
What recipes do you have that can be made more sustainably by using lovage?