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Lovage: Use and preservation of the maggi herb

In the kitchen it is known as Maggi herb: the lovage. There he uses his leaves - fresh or dried - to season various dishes. This is how you can make it last longer.

The lovage (Levisticum officinale) is said to originally come from the Middle East (Persia). In the meantime, however, the culinary herb is grown all over Europe. Even more: it has been one of the most famous aromatic and medicinal plants since ancient times. Today you can either buy lovage at the weekly market - for example in a pot - or simply plant it yourself in the garden.

Why is it called Maggi herb?

Even if lovage is popularly referred to as Maggi herb, there is no lovage in the well-known Maggi seasoning. The culinary herb was given its nickname because its leaves smell unconventionally spicy - and taste a bit like Maggi.

Its sharp taste with a slightly bitter note is also reminiscent of celery. In addition, the lovage leaves are visually similar to those of celery. That's why you sometimes hear the term celery herb here and there.

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The question is often asked in cooking forums and communities: Is lovage parsley? They are two different herbs. But they both belong - like celery - to the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae).

Usage: what to do with lovage

Lovage can be used in many ways in the kitchen. The leaves of the aromatic herbs taste particularly good with meat and fish dishes. Lovage also refines many soups and stews, but also vegetables such as tomatoes or lettuce. If you like, you can also eat it raw.

Our tip
If you use lovage to prepare warm dishes, you should always add the seasoning towards the end of the cooking process, otherwise the herb will lose its aroma. In general, you can cook with both fresh and dried leaves.

The versatility of lovage goes back to its strong flavor. You should therefore use the spice sparingly. The essential oils, which Maggi herb contains in all parts of the plant, are responsible for the spicy aroma. They have a digestive and beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract. This is another reason why lovage is an important medicinal plant.

Kitchen herbs: knotted upside down on a thread, let them dry. (Source: Shotshop / imago images)

Conservation: how does lovage last longer?

If you have harvested too much lovage or want to use fresh herbs even in winter, there are two ways to preserve the herb:

Dry the lovage

You can dry the herb - knotted upside down on a thread - and pluck it off as required. Alternatively, fill the dried lovage directly into a screw-top jar and seal it airtight. This variant is better because otherwise the wort will 'evaporate' quickly.

Our tip
If you want to dry lovage for the winter, you should harvest it in September at the latest. However, do not dry the leaves in the sun, otherwise a large part of the flavor will be lost.

Lovage (Levisticum officinale): The dried root is particularly spicy. (Source: imagebroker / imago images)

The roots of the lovage can also be dried. The special thing about it: Their flavoring power even exceeds that of the leaves. In the course of October, simply dig up the roots carefully, clean them thoroughly, cut into thin strips and hang up to dry in an airy place - preferably lined up on a thread. Optionally, you can also grind the dried roots. Then immediately store in airtight containers.

Freeze lovage

However, as with many herbs, it is recommended to preserve them by freezing. The reason: This leads to less loss of taste than with drying. To freeze, cut the lovage into small pieces, sprinkle the finely chopped herb in ice cube trays and fill the ice cube molds with olive oil or water. In this way, regardless of the season, you have small portions of lovage ready to hand to refine your dishes. This method is also suitable for freezing wild garlic.

Lovage (Levisticum officinale): It is also known in the kitchen as Maggi herb. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

Planting lovage: location and care

The Maggi herb is considered to be a very easy to care for and undemanding plant. If you already have lovage in the garden, you can multiply and replant it by dividing it. If not, it is best to sow it in the open air between the end of March and the end of April. As a location, it likes nutrient-rich, moist soils. It copes well with partial shade, but thrives better in sunny places.

Our tip
However, the lovage needs a lot of space. It can grow up to two meters in height and is quite wide. Therefore it needs at least a meter from other plant species and at least half a meter from other species.

The plant gets best around three liters of compost per square meter per year - given in two portions: in spring and late summer (August). The earth should always be kept moderately moist. However, waterlogging should be avoided.

Recipes: lovage seasoning sauce

The Maggi herb is a delicious ingredient in many recipes. Be it for the homemade vegetable broth, the creamy pea puree, the hearty bread soup (made from hard bread leftovers) or for boiled beef with Frankfurt green sauce.

In addition, due to its flavor, the herb is considered to be a "crazy salt substitute", as Steve Karlsch, culinary director of the "Brasserie Colette Tim Raue" raves.

However, it is also suitable for making lovage seasoning sauce - or in other words: homemade Maggi. Completely free of aroma and flavor enhancers. And this is how it works:

ingredients

  • 500 g lovage
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 70 g salt
  • 150 grams of sugar
  • some soy sauce

preparation

  1. Wash the lovage and parsley and cut both into small pieces.
  2. Put the salt in 1.5 liters of water and let the herbs simmer in it for about 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, caramelize the sugar and add it to the herbal stock.
  4. Let everything simmer for another ten minutes.
  5. Season the whole thing with a little soy sauce.
  6. Put everything through a fine sieve and let it drain.
  7. Briefly boil the sauce again and fill it in bottles

You can now refine your dishes with the vegan seasoning sauce.

If you fill the sauce in pretty bottles and put a label on it, you can also bring it with you as a present for the barbecue evening.

More on the topics

  • Stomach,
  • essential oils,
  • Seasoning,
  • Lovage,
  • Soups,
  • Herbs,
  • Garden,
  • Eat,
  • Kitchen,
  • Celery,
  • Medicinal plant,
  • Compost,
  • Flavor enhancer,
  • Gastrointestinal tract,
  • Vegetable broth,
  • Parsley,
  • Vegetables,
  • Maggi