Here’s an interesting plant. It’s a perennial herb called lovage. Tastes very much like really strong celery. It will get yellow flowers in the fall and the seeds that come from it are what you’re actually eating when you eat celery seeds in recipes.
This plant is not well known today but has been used for centuries. During medieval times they ate some things we wouldn’t today, cos they had to, and lovage was eaten then as a vegetable. Their tastes back then were far different from ours today. They didn’t have the food choices we have today and they wasted nothing that was edible.
This stuff is so strong that eating it plain, either raw or cooked, just isn’t something that appeals to me at all. But, the flavor, blended, simmered, drawn into other foods is wonderful. Any dish where you would want to have a celery flavor would be good with lovage. I make soup a lot, cos a hearty soup is good food, and I can cram veggies into it, lol. To take several stalks of lovage and throw it into a pot of soup adds a wonderful flavor. If you throw it in whole, you can discard it easily when you’re ready to serve the dish, cos it stays together pretty well in cooking. Also, a pot of roasted veggies with any kind of meat, with a couple of stalks of lovage laid across the top, mmmm.
If you can find it, you will get a few stalks that will enlarge into a clump by the second year. It will bloom in the fall of the second year, and each year thereafter. Like any herb, if you want the plant to retain the same taste, pinch the blooms off before they fully form. Plants that are left to go to seed get stronger and different flavored as they’re working on making seeds. Unless you want the seeds….but I think you’d need a lot of the plant to get a large number of seeds.
Lovage will be one of the first things up in the garden in the spring. This picture was taken 4/25, and we’ve had a cold spring here, but the lovage is already at its best. Once it freezes in the fall, you don’t need to do anything but trim off the old frozen growth and wait till spring, and you’ll have more lovage, probably lots more.
Happy gardening, and happy cooking!