Borage

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 in Plant This | Comments Off

People say that borage leaves taste like cucumber, but if that’s the flavor you’re after, why not just eat a cucumber? Use the leaves if you want—some people pick small, young leaves for salads or cook them with other greens—but it’s the flowers I’m interested in.  The dazzling bright blue color isn’t found in many flowers, particularly edibles, and the fact that they hold their color when frozen means that you can do a very elegant little ice cube trick with them:  Fill ice cube trays halfway, freeze, and then set a flower on each half-cube of ice. Refill with water and freeze again.  This traps the flower in the middle of the cube.

The plant is ridiculously easy to grow as a summer annual.  Because of its long taproot, it resists transplanting; for that reason you’re better off starting from seed.  (Get them here.)  Once you’ve got a patch of it going, it will self-sow every year. If the blue color doesn’t suit you, there is a white variety available from Johnny’s Select Seeds, and the blue variety sometimes produces pink or purple flowers for reasons known only to the plant.

Borage is the classic Pimm’s Cup garnish, but I can’t imagine a cocktail whose looks would not be improved by floating a starry blue flower atop it, so use it in everything. Champagne and a splash of St-Germain elderflower liqueur?  Add borage. Aviation, a gin drink made faintly purple with violet liqueur? Borage. A lemon drop?  Borage.  See how easy that is?

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