Story by Susan Tomlinson
Said to ‘make the mind glad.’ Borage is easy to grow, loved by bees and delicious in salads. The vivid blue, star shaped flowers of the borage plant have been added to salads since the Elizabethan times.
The great herbalist John Gerard wrote in 1597, “I, borage, always bring courage.” Modern research however has given a new slant on these sayings as the plant is now known to stimulate the adrenal glands, encouraging the production of adrenaline our ‘fight or flight’ hormone.
At the end of June the borage started to really take off in the Debate Your Plate garden. Its vivid blue star shaped flowers bring a burst of vibrant colour to the garden and they’re a haven for bees.
Bees not only love the nectar whilst they are in the garden they will also pollinate other plants such as tomatoes. Borage is really easy to grow. It will do well in tubs or containers – but equally it will do really well planted straight out from seed. Make sure you select a sunny spot and water regularly.
It will spread like wildfire though so to stop it self-seeding collect the seeds yourself and either save them for next year or take along to your local seed swap. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible; the leaves have a slightly cucumber-esque taste while the flowers taste slightly peppery. We added our flowers and leaves to a herb salad but they look and taste great sprinkled on any green leaves. My mum also used to pop them inside ice cubes – perfect for Pimms!
About the authors: Susan Tomlinson and Liz Scarff run the website – Debate your Plate.
Susan and Liz have very kindly agreed to share some of their food stories with everyone here on the website. Watch out for further stories in the News Section.