The idea of a lovage syrup is very intriguing. I wonder if I could grow some here in Sweden. I can already foresee a lovage, watermelon and cucumber Hendrick’s g&t. Oh damn, now we’re just missing summer around here!
I second the buy-a-plant recommendation. Easiest plant I’ve ever grown, and comes in handy when a recipe calls for celery and you want to cheat. For a quicker gin-and-tonic situation, you can just muddle the leaves with some lime and pour booze on top. Though I love the idea of this syrup for more sophisticated applications!
Lovage soup is wonderful, too. Chop a bunch (large hand full) of lovage very finely. Cut an onion into very small cubes, fry them in some butter until translucent, add half a tablespoon of flour, stir until coated, then add 2 cups of milk and a cup of water (or broth), stir, add the lovage and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Season to taste (salt is all you may need). If you want it smoother you can blend the soup.
Is lovage the same thing as Chinese celery? I grew up eating Chinese celery, which is essentially a very strong tasting, herb-y celery. It has the same tubes though and looks pretty similar, except maybe the leaves are a bit thinner/lighter green! I’d be curious to see if it’s the same thing as lovage, just under a different moniker.
I grow lovage in my Northern California backyard. I bought it on accident (mistook for parsley)!but it’s the best mistake I’ve ever made. It is hearty and grows like a weed! I pick huge stalks and strip the leaves off the stalks to add to salads. Yum!!
Long time reader – first time commenter! ;) I was psyched to see you giving lovage some…er…LOVE. We moved from Chicago to Maine a little over a year ago, and are renting a house in the country and had no idea what the weird, purple/green celery smelling stuff was that started coming up in the former garden next to the rhubarb. Someone finally identified it for us, and I’ve been determined to experiment with different ways to use it!
It seems silly to only use the leaves, and although straws are fun I keep trying to find ways to eat more of the actual stalks. I bet they’d be great as a base for stuffing or something – but, sort of the wrong season. Last year, our patch grew to well over 6 feet and had the most beautiful yellow flowers.
straws, yo! I heart you. but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen lovage down here? is it like rhubarb, which Yankees rhapsodize about all spring but which we have to pay an arm & a leg for? I’m going to check out the high-end grocery store here just to see if they carry it, because anything that you endorse as being a potentially good mixer for gin, this gal is interested in.
Hi Nishta! Yeah, you’re unlikely to find lovage in a grocery store. I see it very occasionally at farmers markets. Maybe you’ll be surprised? Not sure it grows down south, and not sure it gets shipped anywhere….
I, too, sometimes pick up something at the farmers market just for its novelty (I just tossed out some wild ferns I failed to make use of, much to my chagrin).
I just picked up some lovage at Green City this morning. I love the idea of this syrup with soda and gin and lime (maybe with the Letherbee vernal gin??). I also imagine lovage straws would be perfect in a Bloody Mary.
cool – thanks so much for this post. I love produce of all kinds and have never heard of lovage before! eager to track down a plant for our garden this year or next. It sounds like something I would love.