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lovage-msg – 12/20/06


Period use of lovage. A medieval vegetable similar to celery.


NOTE: See also these files: vegetables-msg, herbs-msg, herbs-cooking-msg,  cabbages-msg, candy-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 09:11:12 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Celery, was Citron and Potato)



> Stefan, I noticed that Ann Hagen mentioned celery in her Anglo-Saxon

> food.  If it's that early in England, it was probably everywhere, but I'd

> bet it wasn't a whole lot like our celery.  Probably smaller stalks, and

> a bit bitter.  Making candy with it would definately improve most wild

> veggies.


Celery as we know it seems to have been developed more recently than the

middle ages, but the wild proto-celery was probably pretty much like

lovage, with thin, tough, fibrous stems, much less succulent than modern

celery, and, as you suggest, stronger-tasting leaves.


If you've ever seen Chinese celery, it also is pretty much like lovage.


I suspect that celery may have been seen mostly as a medicinal herb,

rather than as a vegetable, but then candying such an herb would be a

fairly likely method of preserving it and maximizing its medicinal

qualities. Many candies were developed, essentially, as pills and lozenges.





Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 07:39:31 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Substitute for Lovage


Glenda Robinson wrote:

> I've tried to get lovage, and have been unable to get it. Does anyone know

> what other herb I can substitute without the recipes turning really nasty?


Chinese celery (a leafy vegetable eaten for its leaves, because while it

does have stems it lacks the fleshy ribs of celery varieties such as

Pascal; check an Asian market) is probably the best substitute, but

ordinary celery leaves, especially the green outer ones when the produce

people haven't trimmed with extreme prejudice, makes a pretty good

substitute too. Failing those, in an emergency, I suppose you could use

celery seed. I guess what I'm trying to say is that lovage tastes like

celery... ;  )




Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 11:19:43 -0500

From: Kay Loidolt <mmkl at indy.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #1904


> From: LrdRas at aol.com

> In a message dated 2/20/00 7:38:51 AM Eastern Standard Time, troy at asan.com

> writes:

> << I guess what I'm trying to say is that lovage tastes like

>  celery... ;  ) >>


> Are you sure you weren't trying to say that lovage tastes 'similar' to

> celery? :-)


Johann responds;

Yes, use celery, Lovage is thought to be the ancestral plant form which

celery evolved. The difference being that L. grows quite tall and does

not develop the large spatulate stalks that celery does. Lovage has a

rather strong celery taste and can be quite bitter, use it sparingly.

If you cannot find L. use a little extra celery seed or leaf as

suggested before. BTW L. can also carry a little coriander flavor,

somewhat sharp and metallic, so you may consider a combination of

Celery, Coriander and Parsley to best imitate Lovage's flavor.


Johann, who grows Lovage and uses it in several dishes, including a

wonderful Tuna salad!!



Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 18:31:33 EST

From: ChannonM at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re: Lovage- recipes especially candied lovage


<< Aha!  So _that's_ the name of that plant that someone gave me two years ago!

It's growing outside my window and I couldn't remember what it's name was,

except that it was culinary.  Haven't used any... Chicken soup, perhaps?

Alys Katharine, a non-cooking cook



Here is some work that I did on Lovage and a recipe that was passed on to me

from a lady on the Apicius list,


LOVAGE ( ligusticum levisticum)

Lovage was used extensively in Apician recipes and provided a significant

flavour to the overall taste of the foods it was used with. I have grown

lovage (levisticum officianalis) in my back yard for the express purposes of  

my work with Roman recipes. I have since used it in different capacities.

Attached is a small packet of  seeds from my garden, please put them to good

use. I hope the following information is valuable to anyone wishing to do so.


>Do they(lovage plants) need sun, partial sun?lots of water? well drained



Here is what I found:

I planted the lovage from a plant that I purchased at the local nursery. That

was a two years ago. It was originally planted on a West facing fence, with

little or no water given other than what came itís way by nature.Last year I

moved the plant and divided it (it is perennial) and planted one part on

another West wall and the other a few feet away in full sun. I always

supplement my soil with lots of compost and peat moss, so I canít tell if

that has anything to do with it. The plant didnít flower the first year and I

just cut it back in the fall  and harvest and dried whatever was there. This

year the plant has taken off and is probably 3-4 feet high with large

umbelliferous flowers. I had no idea how big it would become, so beware it is



Some info I dug up in my herbal books (if you donít already have one or two,

it can be very helpful to understand the herb) talks about different aspects

of the plant so here it is :



pungent, clump forming herbacaceous perennial with rhizomatous roots and

stout hollow ridged stems up to 2.4 m / 8ft.

Cultivation: mature plants are large and bulky and need plenty of room in

deep rich moist soil, preferably in shade. Sow in spring outdoors in a

seedbed or under glassp, or divide roots in autumn or spring. Cut back once

or twice during summer if a continuous supply of young leaves is needed.

Parts used:young leaves, avoiding the central flower stem, hollow main stems

before flowering, roots of 2-3 yr old plants dug in autumn , s liced &  

dried, ripe seeds.

Constituents: Volatile oil, isovaleric acid, angelic acid, coumarins, gum,


Main uses: Culinary leaves in stews and soups, with fish and jam, seeds in

breads and savouries.

Lovage is an aromatic stimulant and a warming digestive tonic similar to

angelica. Lovage cordial is an old country drink used to settle the stomach

and ease the digestion. In hot infusion, lovage is sweat-inducing. It also

has  diuretic properties but should be avoided in kidney disease due to itís

irritant effect. I also promotes the onset of menstruation. The phthalides in

the volatile oil have been reported to be sedative in mice.

The seeds, leaves , and stems of lovage have a strong celery like flavour,

which goes well with many foods, especially vegetarian dishes based on rice

or nuts.


CAUTION: Lovage should not be used during prgnancy or kidney disease.


The complete book of Herbs-Andi Clevely and Katherine Richmond

The complete New Herbal- Richard Mabey

I hope that the above information is helpful.




Here are some recipes that will definintely be!!

Lovage Soup

4 Tbsp olive oil

4 slices stale bread

1 bunch of lovage leaves, chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

Ĺ small bund of parlsey, chopped

3 oz butter

2 pints good chicken stock

2 whole eggs and 1 yolk


Pour the olive oil over the bread and grill until brown. Sweat the lovage,

garlic, and parsley in butter until wilted. Pour on the stockand simmer for 2

mins. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Place one slice of bread in

each warmed bowl. Bring the soup ot hte boil and slowly pour in the egg,

stirring gently with a wooden spoon, so that it separates into strands Season

to taste and serve.

Alternatives; replace the lovage with basil, add 2oz of parmesan cheese to

the beaten eggs. or use spinach sorrel or nettle simmered for a few extra


In addition here is a recipe sent to me by Hilary, from the Apicius list for

candied lovage stems. I have yet to try it but can not resist putting this in.


From the Apicius at onelist.com, Hilary Cool writes;

Iím not sure if candying lovage stems will be of wide interest to the rest of

the list so I thought Iíd reply off list.

Lovage has a section in Sophie Grigsonís Herbs published by the BBC earlier

this year. (An excellent book which accompanied a cookery programme).  She

says the young stems Ďmake a rather good, if unusual, sweetmeat, candied as

you would angelicaí .  she also says the addition of lovage leaves to a

carrot and potato soup is a good idea, but it hasnít really been soup weather

since I got the book so Iíve not tried it. Perhaps in the autumn.  This is

her recipe for candying angelica.

Cut tender young angelica stems in 10cm lengths.

Make a brine with 8g salt to each 2.3 litres water (1/4 oz to 4 pints).  

Bring to boil and pour over the angelica. Leave for 15 minutes, drain.

Blanch the angelica in fresh boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Drain.

Peel away any tough outer skins from the stems.

Weigh the angelica and weigh out an equal amount of sugar.

Layer the sugar and angelica in a saucepan. Cover and leave for 1.2 days

until the sugar has turned to syrup.

Add just enough water to cover the angelica.  Bring gently to the boil and

simmer quietly until the angelica is clear and the syrup reduced to a clear


Leave the angelica to dry on on a wire rack in an airing cupboard for a

couple of days.

Store in an airtight container



From: "Debra Hense" <nickiandme at worldnet.att.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Sun, 25 May 2003 18:11:49 -0500

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Lovage


I grow lovage - have for a few years.  It's a very intense celery flavor.

Imagine if you will, someone who has distilled the essence of celery.

Very intense and somewhat more bitter.


I have substituted dried celery leaves for it successfully.  I've also

tossed in celery seed to add some more celery flavor to a recipe  

calling for Lovage.


I have been harvesting it these past few weeks and drying the leaves. I

could ship you some next week if you would like to try it yourself.





Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 22:59:41 -0400 (EDT)

From: <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Lovage and Rue


> It has been suggested that modern cooks substitute celery leaves for

> lovage leaves. Does anyone have experience using actual fresh lovage?

> And if yes, can you verify this substitution?


I've used actual fresh lovage. If there is any way you can get fresh

lovage, do so. It's got a very different taste than celery. (Where are you

getting lovage seeds? My mom killed the lovage I left in her yard, I  

need a new one!)


If you are going to substitute, you might try 1 part of cilantro to 2

parts celery. But I don't recommend it.


> Rue

<snip of comments. See rue-msg file. Stefan)


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa   jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 15:14:01 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Lovage vs Angelica??

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


--- Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> Greetings.  In an article about lovage, the

> editor equates it with

> angelica and writes "Remember, angelica is

> lovage."  The dictionary

> says that lovage is an apiaceous herb,

> "Levisticum officinale" and

> that angelica is an umbelliferous plant of the

> genus  Angelica, esp.

> A. Archangelica".  Therefore, these two can't

> be the same, can they?

> Do the two look alike?  Taste alike?


> Alys Katharine


They don't look alike from the pictures I have

seen.  The only relationship I can see is a

common use as a substitute for celery.


The Oxford Companion to Food says of Lovage:


Lovage: Levisticum officinale, an umbelliferous

plant that grows in S. Europe and as far north as

England.  It resembles wild celery in appearance,

and was formerly used in the same way, but is

milder and sweeter with a distictively warm,

spicy fragrance.


Lovage was popular as a flavouring herb in

classical times, and is often mentioned in

Apicius.  The Romans called it ligusticum because

it grew abundantly in Liguria.  The altered form

of levisticum, common in late Latin, was the

origin of the English and other modern names, and

was later adopted as the botanical name.  The

hardier and coarser-flavoured plant which is

sometimes called 'Scotch' or 'black' lovage, but

whose correct name is Alexanders, was given

Ligusticum as its generic name (but has since

lost it in favour of Smyrnium).


Lovage continued to be grown in medieval kitchen

gardens.  The leaves were used as a flavouring

and to make a cordial; the stems were cooked like

celery; and the roots were made into a sweetmeat.

  The suggestion of 'love' in the name is also

seen in German; the plant had a reputation as a

love potion.


The eclipse of wild celery by the cultivated type

also led to the decline in the use of lovage,

which is now little known anywhere.  This is a

pity, because the flavour is distinctive and,

used with discretion, very good in soups, salads,

and meat dishes alike.


The Oxford Companion to Food says of angelica:


Angelica: the name for a group of tall

unbelliferous plants with thick stems, in the

genus Angelica.  Of the many species growing in

the most temperate regions of the world, the most

famous and useful, growing in Europe, is Angelica



Parkinson (1629) observed that all Christian

nations call this plant by names signifying its

angelic associations, and "likewise in their

appellations hereof follow the Latine names as

near as their Dialect will permit".  The basis

for the angelic associations is not clear,

although it may be connected with the plant's

reputation as an antidote to poisons; and the

archangelic ones might be due to the fact that

the flower would be in bloom on 8 May (old

calendar), the day of St. Michael Archangel.


A. archangelica grows well in Scotland, Germany,

Scandinavia, and Russia.  It is among the few

tall plants which can withstand the weather in

Iceland and the Faeroes.  It will also thrive

further south, and is grown in both France and

Italy; and likewise in many parts of N. America,

where it has been introduced as a cultivated

herb.  It differs from most members of the genus

in having smooth stalks and leaves in all its

parts, and has a distinctive scent, often

described as musky.


Formerly the leaf stalks were blanched and eaten

like celery, and the leaves were candied.  The

roots were made into preserves, and angelica

water was a well-known cordial.  Its use as a

vegetable survives in some countries, e.g.

Greenland and the Feroes, where it is eaten

cooked.  Nowadays, however, much of the most

common use is to candy the stalks, cut into short

pieces, for use in cakes and confectionary.  In

England, it is frequently used to decorate a

trifle.  Most of the angelica grown commercially

for candying comes from France and Germany.


The candied stalks have been sold as 'French

rhubarb' in the USA.  Elsewhere, the addition of

a little angelica to stewed rhubarb is thought to

be a good way of reducing the acidity.


Growing and candying angelica have been a

speciality of Niort in France since the latter

part of the 18th century, and the Niortais now

have a monopoly in France. (Tales about the

origin of their specialization are of doubtful

validity, and it was not an invention of

Niort--the art of candying angelica was already

being practised in the south of France around

1600; but claims have been made that the angelica

grown at Niort is superior to any other.)  The

process of candying angelica is elaborate,

involving many stages and takes up to a year or

more.  Angelica jam is made and so are

chocolate-coated pieces of candied angelica.





Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 22:24:46 EDT

From: UrthMomma at aol.com

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 4, Issue 27

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Angelica is lovage ??  I don't know what folk names the author was accustomed

to, but angelica is not lovage. Lovage is good to use where celery is called

for, especially in stews where it can cook properly as fresh lovage, even

finely chopped can be rather coarse in texture, as in it feels like you are

chewing on maple or oak leaves.


Yea, angelica does somewhat resemble lovage in the garden as it  also grows

tall and has hollow stems also and "cut" foilage if I recall from also killing

it about five years ago, but culinary uses the same as lovage ?? Certainly

not in the other modes of herb usage that I know of.  Bees probably love the

flowers of both - "lovage is an apiaceous herb", but bees love the flowers of

most herbs.


Olwen Bucklond

plant killer extraordinarie



Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 09:35:05 -0400

From: Jeff.Gedney at Dictaphone.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Lovage vs Angelica??

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Therefore, these two can't be the same, can they?

> Do the two look alike?  Taste alike?


Having grown both, I can state with certainty that they are NOT the same

(Jadwiga's description is pretty much spot on.)


Lovage tastes like a cross between greenleaf lettuce, parsely and celery

tops, and is a wonderful salad herb.

I never got to taste the angelica ( dang neighbor kids and their dog )





Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 10:45:34 -0400

From: Daniel Myers <edouard at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] lovage recipes, PLEASE!

To: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net, Cooks within the SCA

        sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Jun 21, 2004, at 9:37 AM, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:

> Ok, so I didn't save all he (period) recipes that used lovage. But you

> see, I grew a whole big plant of it in the yard this year, and I should

> start cooking with it.


Here are the couple that I found after a quick search...


[Source: Liber cure cocorum]  For to make a compost Take þo chekyns

and hew hom for þo seke, All but þe hede and þe legges eke. Take a

handfulle of herb lovache, And anoþer of persely, als Of sage þat never

was founde fals, And noþer of lekes and alle hom wasshe Þose herbes in

water, þat rennes so rasshe.Breke þorowghe þy honde, bothe herbe and

leke, With a pynt of hony enbeny hom eke, Summe of þese herbes þou

shalle laye In þe pottus bothun , as I þe say. Summe of þe chekyns þou

put þerto, And þen of þe herb3 do to also. So of þo ton so of þat oþer,

Þo hrb3 on þe last my dere brother. Above þese herbus a lytul larde

Smalle myncyd, haldand togeder warde. Take powder of gynger and canel

god wone, Cast on þese oþer thynges everychon. Be sle3e and powre in

water þenne To myd þo pot, as I the kenne. Opone þo ruys poure hit

withinne, And cover hit þat no hete oute wynne, And tendurly seyth hit

þou do may, Salt hit, serve hit, as I þe say.


[Source: Le Viandier de Taillevent (J. Prescott, trans.)]  To cure wine

turned ropy. For a Paris hogshead, boil a potful o wheat until it has

burst, drain it, and put it to cool. Take some well beaten egg whites,

skim them, and put everything in the barrel. Stir with a short stick

(split into 4 at the end) which does not reach the dregs, so that they

are not disturbed. Hang  pound of ground bastard lovage in a cloth

sachet by a thread in the bunghole of the barrel.


- Doc


   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)

   Cum Grano Salis



Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 15:50:48 -0700

From: "Rikke D. Giles" <rgiles at centurytel.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Lovage, Lovage, who's got the Lovage?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On 2006.04.26 12:43, Aurelia Rufinia wrote:

> Lets talk lovage.


   I've a huge growth of lovage (sounds like a condition really, and

under certain circumstances it is).  It grows like gangbusters here.

We've little seedlings here and there which I have to weed out, but

we've also a stand of it at about 2-3 feet tall right now, and

heading on up to it's 8-10 foot maximum.  Things just grow bigger

here in the NW.


As for celery, it's a far better subsitute for lovage than parsley.

Lovage is extremely strong 'celery' tasting.  So much so that one or

two leaf fronds can take the place of a whole head of celery in a

dish.  Now, Black Lovage is different, being an annual, much more

delicate and having a slightly different flavor.  It does reseed

itself every year for us.


If I can figure a way to send some fresh lovage your way, I am

willing to do it.  Other than that, I would say that celery is the

only really good substitute.


HL Aelianora de Wintringham

Barony of Dragon's Laire

Kingdom of An Tir



Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 17:10:18 -0700

From: "Rikke D. Giles" <rgiles at centurytel.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] more lovage

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On 2006.04.26 16:23, Aurelia Coritana wrote:

>   I've used celery seed in place of lovage fairly successfully,

> although I'm just now looking to grow actual lovage of my very own.


>   It takes over the place, they say?


Yes, it can take over.  But it does depend upon your growing

conditions.  Lovage and Celery like plenty of water.  Celery is

actually a marginal swamp plant, natively.


Catalogs will say lovage, Levisticum officinalis, grows 5 to 6 feet

tall.  Not in the PacNW, where it grows up to 10 or more feet.  But

then we've the conditions it likes; moist ground, sunny, but not

super warm days.  Most every plant barring super heat lovers like

okra and eggplant grows well here. Many of them end up 1-1/2 to 2

times the size they attain in other growing areas.


The whole lovage plant is edible, although with varying degrees of

toughness.  The root is used; I believe it has to be pounded.  The

stalks, when young, are much like hollow celery stalks.   When old

they become very fibrous.  The leaves are like celery leaves and

stalks.  They are quite flavorful. The seeds are like celery seed,

and if the plant likes your area, will be abundantly self-sown.

Lovage is a perennial.


Once again, in Roman recipes you will find them calling for 'Black

Lovage', Smyrnium olusatrum, also called Alexanders.  This is an

entirely different plant than lovage.  It tastes different, albeit

with celery as the dominant flavor.  It only attains 2 to 4 feet. Its

flower stalks will be longer. It's seeds are black and shiny.  Some

places say this plant is a perennial but I've found it to be short

lived as such, and would say it was biennial.


HL Aelianora de Wintringham

Barony of Dragon's Laire

Kingdom of An Tir



Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 08:39:15 -0400

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: More Lovage

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Aurelia wrote:

> I'm just now looking to grow actual lovage of my very own.

> It takes over the place, they say?


I've heard that but mine hasn't. It's still growing in the same spot and

hasn't spread out at all.  It just grows about 5' tall and needs a cage for

support.  Maybe the clay soil inhibits any spread??


Alys Katharine



Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 09:44:05 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: More Lovage

To: thin the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Here in CT I never had much problem with it, growing it

or with it spreading beyond control.


I too have very high clay soil, and I heavily worked

coarse sand, lime and Peat moss into the soil before

starting the garden.


The lovage liked it best when it was wet, but I dont

think that I ever had to support it. (If it got any

higher I could see it, though.)

The stuff is danged easy to grow, though, and seemed

relatively immune to most of the bugs I dealt with.


If you were to grow this in a container, I'd use a mix

of peat moss and pearlite, use a large container, and

keep it on the wet side. But it should be doable that

way. The stuff is very forgiving.


Capt Elias

Dragonship Haven, East

(Stratford, CT, USA)


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org