lovageWelcome to the LWTM – ‘Cooking with herbs’ blog series

In this blog series you will find historical information and recipes about the most commonly used kitchen herbs. They do not only add flavour, but they also make a positive impact on our health and well-being. To find out more about other kitchen herbs, please type ‘cooking with herbs’ into the

Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

History: Pliny the older and Dioskurides already used this useful herbs to cure kidney and bladder diseases. However, in the Middle Ages this aromatic herb was seen as ‘plant of love’ and found its way into many  love potions.

How to grow and use it: Lovage is a perennial plant and grows over 2 meters tall. The leaves are large and almost triangular. Its flowers are greenish-yellow colour and they show up in late spring. These days lovage is a bit of a forgotten kitchen herb, but that is very undeserved, as its leaves add
a lot of flavour to soups, stews and dishes, making it easier to reduce the salt need to make the dish palatable.

In Germany it is called the ‘Maggi’ herb, named after the famous soup flavouring sauce, as it is one of its main ingredients. But it is not only the leaves that are so useful, the seeds can be used as a spice and the roots as a vegetable.

Recipes: 

Lovage root tea:
This tea is wonderful for everybody who suffers from gout, rheumatism, hot flushes and production of sweat. 
Chop up dried or fresh root (1 tsp) and add to a cup of hot water. Drink up to 2 teas a day, one in the morning and one in the evening,

Lovage bath essence:
Take 10 leaves and some roots add to one litre of cold water, slowly bring to the boil. Then add it to your full bath. Lovage as bath essence helps with female genial problems, reduces the production of sweat, soothes the nerves and helps to lose weight. 

Top tip: Freeze the leaves in summer and add a tsp of frozen lovage to soups and sauces over the winter time. 

Lovage and pumpkin pesto

This is a very seasonal dish and makes a great starter dip.  Chop up a handful of lovage leaves, add 50g of pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp of ground parmesan and 120ml pumpkin seed oil (or virgin olive oil). It tastes great on toasted rye bread or with vegetables such as celery or raw carrots.