Posted by: briellethefirst | June 3, 2011

Borage


Borage (Borago officinalis) has been real unpredictable for me. In Scottsdale it grew 6 inches tall, made a few flowers and died. In Seattle it grew 3 feet tall, almost as wide and took over the garden as it attracted squadrons of bees. In Florida it grew a manageable 2 toot tall, made a respectable display of flowers that attracted some bees and I even saw a humming-bird buzzing it once.It’s an annual that’s easy to grow and makes a good companion plant, both to confuse pests and attract bees. It looks like I’ll have to grow some more, since I can’t find my pictures of borage in the garden!

The leaves and flowers taste like cucumber and are used in salads, drinks, teas, sandwiches, cheeses and deserts. The young leaves are more tender than the old leaves, which can be cooked and eaten like spinach. Borage has to be used fresh because the leaves and flowers lose their flavour when dried, but you can freeze them in ice cubes for use in drinks. The flowers are pretty in potpourri when they’ve been dried in silica gel but they don’t add to the scent. Both the flowers and leaves can be candied and used to decorate cakes, pastries, candies and confections.

One way to candy them is sugaring. You’ll need a plate or tray lined with waxed paper, toothpicks, tweezers, a soft paintbrush, bowls for egg-whites and sugar, flowers/petals/leaves, egg-whites and sugar (preferably superfine if you can find it). If you can’t find superfine sugar just zap a bit of regular white sugar in the blender for a few seconds to make the crystals smaller. Any edible flower can be used, just be sure it’s edible (rose, marigold, violet…) and that it hasn’t been treated with pesticides, organically grown. If it’s large like a rose it’s usually better to do the petals individually and use them individually.

Separate the egg-yolk from the egg-white. The yolk can be used to make hollandaise of mayonnaise.  Beat the egg-white til smooth and homogenous but not very frothy. Holding the flower or petal with fingernails or tweezers, paint it with egg-white. Set it in a bowl with a layer or a small mound of sugar in it and gently sprinkle sugar over it from the other bowl. A spoon can help to be more delicate while you sprinkle. Toothpicks are handy to separate the petals and other parts while sprinkling. Shake off excess sugar and set on clean waxed paper to dry.

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