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A plant with a strange-sounding name is Borage also known as Starflower. It is an annual herb that originated in Syria. However, it is found throughout the Mediterranean region as well as Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. Even though borage is bristly or hairy all over the stem and leaves these bristles don’t sting. It has a pleasant smell like fresh cucumbers as well as a cucumber taste. The leaves are great to chop up and put into a salad. Borage has blue flowers and blooms continuously for most of the year but it is the leaves you use for salad. It may be looked at as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. The flowers are sometimes used to decorate desserts and they have a sweet honey-like taste.
Borage is commonly used as a vegetable in Germany, the Spanish regions of Aragon and Navarra, in the Greek island of Crete and in the Italian northern region Liguria. A well-known German recipe for borage is Green Sauce (Grune Sosse). The recipe comes from Frankfurt. The Frankfurt-style Green Sauce consists of hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt and a large quantity of seven fresh herbs borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley and salad burnet which are finely chopped. Then put in a bowl and mixed with sour cream and some mayonnaise. Once ready this sauce is served cold with peeled boiled potatoes as a side with meat or fish and can be served as a side dish at a barbeque.
In the Aragon region of Spain borage is slightly boiled and sautéed with garlic and served with boiled potatoes.
In Italy in Liguria borage is used as a filling for ravioli and pansoti. Originally before mint replaced borage it was used in Pimms (a liqueur) and is used to flavor pickled gherkins in Poland.
Borage also has medicinal qualities. It is known to regulate metabolism and the hormonal system, is a good remedy for PMS and menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes. Borage may alleviate and heal colds, bronchitis and respiratory infections and in general, is used for its anti-inflammatory and balsamic properties.