Borage, sometimes known as Starflower
(in German Borretsch, or “Gurkenkraut” – cucumber herb)
The borage took a while to get established this year; after the snails tried nibbling it, the slugs also had a go (yes – despite the bristly stems!), and the remaining plants finally started growing in the heat and drought of August. Since September though, they have been looking fabulous, filling in spaces where early poppies and spring bulbs left gaps.
In Germany it is one of the seven herbs used in the “Grüne Soße” -Green Sauce. It is also often added to cucumber salad. It is good for you, containing plenty of vitamin C, and as a herbal remedy it is said to help with stomach disorders, and ease symptoms of the menopause and rheumatism. I have often used the pretty flowers in salads and for decoration, but recently decided to try the leaves… supposedly similar to spinach….
They are slightly prickly, rather hairy, and quite leathery too. I must admit I was sceptical!
Stir-fry with Borage
This is not really a recipe. Every time I make a stir-fry I add different vegetables – whatever is in season or in the fridge!
Today there were some spring onions and carrots, sliced; a little zucchini and some tofu, cut into small chunks; peanut oil for frying; dark miso paste, garam masala and black pepper for seasoning; a few nasturtium leaves, and some udon noodles. Oh, and a spoonful of leftover sweetcorn! And of course a handful of borage leaves, which were added to the wok right at the end of the cooking time.
With the flowers as decoration it certainly looked good…
The verdict? Tasty! The leaves have a freshness that is hard to describe, but you can taste them beside the other seasonings. They do not, however, overpower the other flavours at all. If you don’t have any spinach or chard at hand and want to add some greens to a dish, this is a great alternative. The texture is firmer than spinach, similar to that of sage. The prickles and hairs are undetectable after cooking!
A succesful experiment. And a delicious stir-fry!
What do you like to put in a stir-fry?