Weekend Herb Blogging: Borage
Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen, has started an irresistible—well, at least to me—meme: Weekend Herb Blogging. Lacking in cats and dogs, but not garden, Kalyn dreamt up WHB as another option for food bloggers at play. Play? In an herb garden? I am so there!
For my first foray, I am showcasing a bit of an aberration: a pink borage flower. As you can see from the picture, the densely-clustered flowers are a lovely periwinkle blue. When I went out the other day to snag a few pictures of the herb garden in late fall, I discovered one pink flower amongst the sea of icy blue. I've been growing borage for at least a decade now and it's the first pink flower I've seen so I was pretty jazzed. (What's that you say? I should get a life? laughs)
Borage, in case you haven't encountered it, is one of what I call "my salad herbs," meaning those that I usually served fresh in a salad. (I hear you can cook the leaves but I've just never gotten there.) As with a number of other salad herbs, the flowers of borage are what is used, adding flavor and great visual appeal. The delicate little (under an inch) flower tastes like cucumber and even has a bit of a "crispy bite" at its center. The flowers can be candied, which I may just have to try—they are so pretty I can just imagine how delightful they'd look!
A friend of mine often says, "Borage is for Courage!" and it seems that may be true—at least as far as word derivation goes. Botanical.com has some interesting information about the plant. Or maybe they were named for the little, tiny hairs that cover the plants. At least it's soft hairs, not prickly stickery thorns—that would put a whole new twist on eating it in salads, and not a fun one.
Growing tips: One plant will rapidly take over a small spot, growing 12-18 inches
high, and provide enough flowers for salads for a couple of people.
Borage is a hardy annual, and mine always reseeds itself so I've only
had to plant one per garden and have always had several volunteers to transplant the next year. After that, they sort of multiply like bunnies, so if you have a space you'd like to fill with mid-late summer flowers, consider borage.