This article is part of A Harmony of Flavors mission to publish pertinent articles to help bring people’s attention to important issues or problems and hopefully offer some form of education for them to make the best decisions. This Article describes that the common thread running through historical descriptions of borage is its ability to make men and women glad and merry, to comfort the heart, dispel melancholy and give courage. These noble qualities may derive from its high content of calcium, potassium and mineral salts, and research suggests that borage works on the adrenal gland, where courage begins. In all the countries bordering the Mediterranean, where it is plentiful, it is spelled with two r s so the word may be derived from the Italian borra, or French bourra, signifying hair or wool, words which in their turn are derived from the Low Latin burra, a flock of wool, in reference to the thick covering of short hairs which clothe the whole plant.
Borage is an annual self seeding plant, borago officinalis, that bears many leafy, branched, hollow succulent stems covered with stiff white hairs. Its sprawling habit makes it difficult to contain as a decorative plant, but its delightful blue, star shaped flowers with their cone of prominent black anthers, are about 3/4 inch in diameter, and are certainly a decorative element. The whole plant looks grayish green, due to the hairs on every surface. Borage is native to Europe, Asia Minor, northern Europe and Africa and naturalized in Great Britain. It is widely cultivated in North America. Its habitat is sunny locations, including waste places and along roadsides. Borage attracts bees and wasps, so try to keep plants away from walking paths.
One of the ways in which borage brings joy is as a flavoring in foods. It has a crisp cucumber flavor. The leaves can be eaten raw, steamed or sauteed like spinach. The stems are also edible. Peel, chop and use them like celery. Fresh borage flowers can be tossed into salads or used as a garnish. They will turn pink on contact with vinegar or lemon juice. Candied, they make lovely decorations for pastries and dessert trays. The leaves and stems enhance cheese, fish, poultry, most vegetables, green salads, iced beverages, pickles and salad dressings. They blend well with dill, mint and garlic. If the fuzziness of the leaves is an objection, they can be used strictly for flavor, and then removed before serving. Borage loses all flavor when dried or frozen. It may be used to flavor vinegar.
Rawstern is an author, teacher, gourmet cook as well as a photographer and graphic artist. She has taken or created all images appearing on these sites. Her articles have been syndicated nationally.
Her background is Slovakian on her mother's side and Yugoslavian on her father's. Her grandparents came from Europe to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. Her ethnic cooking influences began at the cradle. She began her cooking career in Guatemala, in 1970 when she moved there as a 20-year-old newlywed, and set out to learn to cook in a foreign land. This process was complicated by the fact that she could not speak or read the language.
Rawstern loves food, new recipes, and to teach people how to cook from scratch. Her passion is to teach people how to create A Harmony of Flavors when they cook, find joy in baking and help pass along her love of and joy in foods, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy, as she continues her journey in both ethnic cooking and domestic. Her favorite saying in her class is “Life is short – eat dessert first”.
About the Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. I love food. I love to cook, and teach people how to cook, from scratch. I love baking. I love to create new recipes and try them. I hope to inspire you to follow me!
I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of collecting favored recipes of your own. Visit me at my Web site (http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/