This month we’ll take a look at a plant you may not have thought of eating. It’s great for attracting pollinators and has been used in salads and for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.
In much of Europe, it’s grown for its edible leaves which are used a variety of dishes. In North America, it’s grown for another purpose.
For a couple years now we’ve been using borage as one of our plants for attracting pollinators and helpful predator insects. It’s also an edible plant. The leaves and blossoms can both be used.
On hot summer days, the leaves, with a cucumber-like flavour make a delightful refreshing iced tea.
The delicate blue blossoms can be used to decorate cakes and salads or set into water to freeze in ice cubes for a cooling accent in cocktails.
And they’re not just for treats on hot summer days… borage has more to offer.
Here are some of the benefits borage has to offer
The edible parts of the borage plant contains high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamins B and C, as well as beta carotene… all important nutrients to keep our bodies healthy and functioning well.
Because of its nutrient and mineral content, borage has been found to help with adrenal fatigue… something that can come on when we’re under much stress over a period of time.
In the past, wise herbalists of the past often prescribed it as a treatment for depression, and now scientists know why… It contains high levels of GLA which is proven to reduce stress response.
These days, this plant, also known as starflower is grown commercially, in North America, for its oil that contains high levels of GLA. Borage oil is used in skincare products and as a GLA supplement in treating inflammation, calming nervous conditions and improving mood.
So those old herbalists were onto something!
Here’s How You Can Prepare Borage Leaves
The flavour is best described as herbal cucumber with a cool crunchy effect… that goes well with fish.
To prepare a delightful refreshing tea take about ¼ cup fresh borage leaves or flowers and one cup of hot and pour boiling water over it. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Then add a little honey, stir and enjoy. You can also use the dried leaves if you don’t have fresh borage on hand.
The leaves can be used like spinach, enjoyed cooked or finely chopped to overcome the hairy texture of the fresh leaves. You can also make a lovely green borage soup, or add it to pasta dishes, or prepare this Borage and Mint Dip to get started.
The leaves are very good boiled in a little salted water, then drained and sauteed with garlic. Serve this over boiled or mashed potatoes.
With so many ways you can use this vegetable, it’s tempting to get carried away… you don’t want to over do it. Borage does contain alkaloids so consuming large amounts can be hard on the liver.
Enjoy borage on the plate as well as in the garden.