In this world in which we buy everything packaged, there are products that, due to their condition of having to be consumed fresh (we are talking about a day or a few hours) end up being put aside and are forgotten. Today we bring you an aromatic plant that cannot be preserved, frozen, or dried, and that is why we are forgetting about it. Borage . You can cultivate it!
AN AROMATIC TO ALWAYS DRINK FRESH
We have to be honest. After our first steps with different aromatic plants, cayenne and chili peppers of all kinds (we have already told you that we love spicy), we had completely forgotten borage, a plant from which we can take advantage of leaves and flowers to prepare and season many dishes.
Its scientific name is Borago officinalis. Borage is an annual or biennial plant . It usually reaches around half a meter on average but this is highly variable because it can reach almost 1.5 m if you are comfortable and the conditions are optimal.
It is a plant whose leaves and stems are full of villi and can give the sensation of rough and unpleasant or at least that sensation gave us at the beginning.
BUT CAN THIS PLANT BE EATEN LOOKING LIKE THAT?
The first thing you think when you see both leaves and stems full of hairs is that borage is not edible at all. Big mistake. You should know that it has an important content of vitamin C and provitamin A. Minerals such as calcium and iron are also very abundant.
Iron has more than spinach that, as we already told you, the myth of iron in spinach is due to a transcription error in the publication of a scientist . Apart from the purely nutritional part, the flavor of borage has a fine vegetable flavor. May be reminiscent of cucumber. The scent is fresh.
Borage does not have much culinary presence in Spain, although it is more prevalent in areas near the banks of the Ebro. Although it is widespread and grows feral, its origin is estimated throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
Despite its easy cultivation and being able to be found in many places, the truth is that it is a forgotten aromatic plant that is recovering and is gaining fame among culinary professionals. Countries with universal cuisines such as France and Italy, greatly appreciate borage as a complement to many dishes.
ASSOCIATIONS WITH CROPS IN THE GARDEN
We have found through research that it has beneficial effects on tomato and strawberry plants . It protects tomatoes from some beetles and we like them. The problem with borage in the same garden, along with vegetables, is that it can be invasive if allowed to flower and emit seed.
It can compete with the main crops and eradicating it can be a problem when it has already taken excessive possession of the land. For this reason, perhaps, other plants are used more in association with vegetables, such as basil with tomato .
BORAGE CULTIVATION IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
NECESSARY CLIMATE AND SOIL
Regarding the climate we have to say that the only consideration is to sow it when there is no more frost . That will be the reference to start the cultivation. Depending on the area where you live, you can plant it in March, May or throughout the year if you live in Almería for example.
The soil it requires, although somewhat limestone (pH 6-7) , we need to be fresh, well drained and rich in organic matter , that is, of at least acceptable quality so that it grows in good conditions.
SOWING AND FLOWERING OF BORAGE
The sowing, as we have anticipated, will be in spring in most cases, being able to extend until the summer. It is one of these plants that are considered invasive. If it has good soil conditions, not only will you not have to take care of it but you will have to control it so that it does not expand too much. It blooms during the summer, from very early to late.
If in winter you still want to have borage, you can make a transplant to an indoor pot and it is very possible that it will hold you well. It adapts well to pot life but it has to be something big.
COLLECTION AND CONSERVATION
The collection can be done according to the needs. One of the reasons why this plant is not used too much is its difficulty in preserving it, which is zero. It has to be consumed fresh so when you have to use it pick up a few leaves. The aromas it has are very delicate and subtle.
With freezing or drying they are irretrievably lost. The flowers can be added fresh in salted or garnished to give that fantastic color they have.