If you have not heard of the herb plant borage, that is understandable. Maybe you know the plant by its other names. Some call it bee bush because bees love borage flowers for its nectar. Others call a borage plant starflower because of how the flower looks like: a star-shaped blue flower that is difficult to miss if you ever see one. Some borage plants have pink and white flowers. These are all very lovely. Borage flower is both an ornamental asset and culinary asset of the plant since you can eat these flowers. Another edible part of the plant is the leaves. These are usually broad and oval in shape and green in color.
Do not let this pleasant and generous demeanor fool you, though – a borage plant can defend other plants in the garden. If you have spinach, tomatoes, brassicas, strawberry, or legumes and you want these pest-free, put borage plants in your garden because it can help repel pests that attack these vegetables.
Species: B. officinalis
Binomial Name: Borago officinalis
- Ancient Romans use borage plants to produce wine that soldiers drink before going to battle.
- Both Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of De materia medica (On Medical Material) Pedanius Dioscorides and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed that the borage plant is a form of nepenthe – used by people to forget.
- For philosopher Francis Bacon and English botanist John Gerard, the borage plant has the properties that uplift the spirit of those that consume it.
Borage Buying Guide
Borage is not available year-round. You can find it in markets in the spring and summer seasons. If you are interested in using borage leaves in your food and cooking, it is advisable to buy in bulk. These will keep fresh if you follow directions for freezing or drying.
You can also buy home-made dried and powdered borage leaves in farmers markets. Make sure to bring your spice jar or sealable bottle and ask the vendor to refill it with your desired quantity. This way, you do not use single-use plastic during purchase.
Borage Production & Farming in Texas
Writer Molly Glentzer wrote stories published by The Beaumont Enterprise and Houston Chronicle, which point out that while there are 800 species of bees found in Texas, the place is not an ideal habitable spot for pollinators because of the types of plants found here. Glentzer drives home the point of planting more bee-friendly plants, mentioning the borage plant as one of them. These news articles provide an insight regarding the minimal presence of borage plants in Texas.
Borage is generally resistant to pests. However, growers are more concerned about the weeds and grass growing around the borage plant. For this, the use of several herbicides is necessary.
- Chlorpropham is a herbicide used as a sprout suppressant.
- Linuron is a phenylurea herbicide that controls the growth of grass and weeds
- Napropamid is a soil herbicide used for weed control management.
- Alachlor is an odorless herbicide used to control weeds and grasses.
- Sethoxydim is a selective herbicide used to kill and suppress annual and perennial grasses like wild oats, foxtail, volunteer cereals, quackgrass, and millet.
Borage is native to the Mediterranean. Countries that are known to have produced borage include the UK, Germany, France, and Denmark. In Spain, the use of borage is a common culinary practice in specific regions such as Aragon and Navarre. In Greece, borage is used mostly on the island of Crete. In Italy, borage – locally known as borragine – is commonly used in Liguria when making pasta ravioli and pansoti. In Frankfurt, Germany, there is a popular food made from borage called Grüne Soße or the Green Sauce. Polish and Russian cuisine use borage in giving pickled gherkins its distinct flavor.
You can buy fresh borage flowers sold in a plastic clamshell container. You can find cut borage plants that include the stem, flowers, and leaves sold in markets bundled in a heap. Vendors sell borage seed oil in bottles.
Like other herbs or plants wherein different parts are edible, you can eat the leaves and the flowers of borage too. The taste of borage is similar to a freshly-shucked oyster. When you are eating borage, you will notice that it has a cucumber aroma. The flowers, on the other hand, taste like honey.
Store borage either frozen or dried. Put borage leaves inside a plastic bag and put the plastic bag inside the refrigerator to freeze it. You can also freeze these using ice cube trays. An ice cube containing borage flowers can flavor lemonade or other iced drinks. To dry borage leaves and flowers, spread these out on a drying screen and then place this in a warm, dry room to allow it to completely dry. Make sure to turn the leaves and flowers every two days to make sure these dry out evenly. You’ll know these are completely dry when they turn brittle.
Fresh borage leaves are an excellent ingredient for salads, soups, and sauces. If you are tired of your usual lemonade or tea, you can spice up your drink by making a borage-flavored drink. You can also flavor cocktail drinks using the flower of a borage plant.
As for the flower, there are many creative culinary uses for it. Some fry it while others prefer to have it candied. And because of how great it looks, fresh borage flowers are also used in decorating cakes and other desserts.
Borage is a good source of vitamins A and C. It also contains iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The seed of borage is a good source of omega-6 fatty acids.
- Calcium: 93.00mg
- Iron: 3.30mg
- Potassium: 470mg
- Sodium: 80mg
Drinks infused with borage can help lactating women produce milk. It can also help in managing premenstrual syndrome. Drink borage-infused tea to help you calm down and feel better if you are suffering from depression or nervous tension. Some illnesses of the respiratory system (asthma, bronchitis) and other gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, and diarrhea) and cardiovascular ailments improve by drinking or eating borage.
When Are Borage in Season in Texas?
To find out when Borage are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.