This Herb Tastes Like Oysters

Your herb garden and spice drawer probably have some of the usual suspects: rosemary, basil, coriander, mint, and parsley. How about borage? Also known as starflower or bee bush, borage is an herb that flowers with delicate, pretty blue flowers. The stems, leaves, and flowers are all edible, and they add an unusual note to your food. They taste a little bit crisp and briney, somewhere between a cucumber and an oyster. 

Borage is common in the Mediterranean, and has been used in food and medicine for a long time. It also grows well in the U.K., and is more common over there than in the States. In fact, a borage flower is the traditional garnish for a Pimm’s Cup, that most British of cocktails. These days you’re more likely to get the cocktail garnished with a sliver of lemon peel or a slice of cucumber, but borage makes a pretty conversation starter if you can get your hands on them. 

Easy never tasted so awesome.

The real possibilites of borage are unearthed when you use it as a substitute for something you might otherwise add to dishes. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, the oyster-like taste of borage makes for a great undercurrent in sauces and an excellent addition to vegetables that need a savory hit. Borage is great, for example, in this recipe for Peas with Lemon and Tarragon, because it adds an extra herb-y depth to the meal. You can also use it in salads, like this Purple Flash Spinach Salad, or any other salad that would benefit from that mild cucumber-y note. It would also be particularly pretty in any presentation that showcases herbs and flowers from your garden, like this dinner party-worthy Flower and Herb Butter. Next time you’re on the hunt for herbs, look out for borage and put a floral twist in your dinner. 

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