Bunbury Community Garden looks at the Borage plant

The borage plant. Photo: Supplied

The borage plant. Photo: Supplied

Borage is a wonderful plant to have around the garden.

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss, is a medicinal herb with edible leaves and flowers.

One old wives’ tale states that if a woman slipped a bit of borage into a promising man’s drink, it would give him the courage to propose.

It can be grown as an ornamental plant, but is also edible and medicinal.

With a taste comparable to that of cucumber, borage has various culinary applications.

The leaves can be used as a salad green and the flowers as edible decorations, but to stop there would be an insult to the wide variety of uses for borage.

This herb can be used in soups, salads, preserves, jelly, various sauces, cooked as a stand-alone vegetable, or used in desserts in the form of fresh or candied flowers.

In the garden, the uses of borage include repelling pests such as hornworms, attracting pollinators, and aiding any plants it is interplanted with by increasing resistance to pests and disease.

It is also helpful to, and compatible with tomatoes, strawberries and squash.

Borage adds trace minerals to the soil it is planted in, and is good for composting and mulching.

It is an annual, but readily self-seeds and thrives in full sun. It is so proficient in self-seeding, in fact, that once a borage plant has established itself in your garden, you will likely never have to reseed again.

The bloom period is different for various climates and growing zones. In our garden, borage will bloom from mid-spring to early autumn.

Borage Soup

Do not chop the borage, onions or parsley before boiling.

Ingredients

1 kg borage leaves and flowers

4 green onions

1 handful fresh parsley

2 cups stock

3 medium potatoes

salt

Instructions

Boil a large pot of water with ¼ cup of salt

Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Boil them for 15 minutes scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Prepare an ice water bath.

Boil onions 3 minutes then scoop them out and place in ice water.

Boil parsley 2 minutes then scoop into ice water.

Boil borage 1 minute then scoop into ice water. Drain

Bring stock to a simmer.

Mash potatoes into the stock and simmer 15 minutes.

Chop greens, add them to the stock.

Season with salt to taste.

Purée soup in a food processor.

Return to the pot, heat through, garnish with borage flowers and serve immediately.

  • Interested in the community garden? visit the City of Bunbury website for more information.