2 Thanksgiving Staples: Lovage and Sage

| 11/6/2012 4:43:00 PM

It is one of my favorite times of the year: soup time! I love a hearty bowl of flavorful herbal soup served with a slice of crusty bread. That brings me to my two favorite Thanksgiving herbs: lovage, which is one some of you may not be as familiar with, and sage, the quintessential herb of Thanksgiving.


Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is one of my favorite herbs because it is up early in the spring, goes to flower and seed in the heat of summer, and comes back to life in the fall. It is a perennial member of the parsley family. For additional recipes and information, read Linda L. Underhill and Jeanne Nakjavani's article "Lovage."

Growing Lovage
Lovage looking good in the fall garden.

It makes a big presence in the herb garden and so it is important to place it in the back of the herbal border.  It needs full sun for at least 4 to 6 hours a day and it is perennial for Zones 4 to 8.  It does go dormant in the winter and it needs that period of dormancy.  So it is probably not good in the deep south and tropical areas.

I, of course, use it throughout the season as a replacement for celery.  Then right around this time, I cut what I think I will use during the winter and put the leaves between paper towels or air dry them.  If you dry them between paper towels, the paper towels will smell like lovage.  An herbal bonus!  The leaves will turn yellow from loss of chlorophyll, but the flavor is retained.  You should not dry lovage in a sealed paper bag because of the moisture content in the stems, the leaves will be moldy.  Once the leaves are crispy dry, place them in a container that is labeled and dated.  You want to dry only as much as you will use during the winter and by all means use it within a year.  

Melinda Christensen
3/22/2013 5:34:39 PM

We started growing Lovage about 6 yrs. ago. The flavor is wonderful. My husband loves Lovage soup. I will try freezing it this winter. Clever idea. Whatever peppers I have left at the end of the season I chop up and put them in ice cube trays, freeze them & then put into a freezer bag. When I need peppers for a recipe I just take out a couple cubes and there you go.