If you haven't heard too much hype over lovage yet, you're not alone. This nutritious ingredient rarely seems to get the love it truly deserves. But once you learn about all the benefits and uses that lovage boasts, you'll definitely want to save a special place for it in your heart — and your stomach.
What is lovage?
Lovage, also known as Levisticum officinale, is a culinary herb grown in gardens for the celery-like flavor of its leaves, stems, roots, and seeds, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. The actual appearance of lovage can be similar to that of celery or parsley, with fresh and feathery green leaves. Native to the Eastern Mediterranean region, this herb is a popular cooking ingredient in those countries, as well as in Southwest Asia. These days, lovage is cultivated all over the world — including the United States — and the many benefits of lovage should make everyone want to take advantage of the plant, no matter where you live.
What are the health benefits of lovage?
As the Food Network points out, lovage is pretty low in calories and high in vitamin C, so it can make a nutritious addition of flavor to a wide variety of foods. Lovage is also beloved for its high content of quercetin — a plant pigment that can help boost your resistance to disease. Aside from nutritional value, the herb has also been used as a medicinal plant since ancient times. For example, lovage is often used as a digestive aid and as a way to ease pain, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The herb is also sometimes used to diminish redness of the eyes. But don't worry — you don't have to feel under the weather to enjoy lovage in your meals.
How to Prepare Lovage
You can buy lovage at a variety of different grocery stores, but if you don't see the herb available in your local shop, you may consider growing your own with lovage seeds, such as Outsidepride Lovage Herb Seeds ($6.49, Amazon).
Once you have lovage in your kitchen, the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of what you can do with it. You can include the leaves in your salads and add them for flavoring in different soups and stocks. As for the seeds, you can add them as toppings for different breads and pastries while baking. The peeled roots of the plant even come in handy for casserole dishes. Still need inspiration for more creative lovage recipes? You can find some unique lovage dishes in places like New York Times Cooking and BBC Food.
Let's show lovage some love!
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