Borage is a beautiful and, sadly, nowadays underused commodity in terms of medicinal and culinary herb-craft. Mostly it is grown commercially for its seed-oil and by savvy gardeners, who know that it attracts bees who pollenate their other plants.
Borage is also often known as 'starflower' thanks to its exquisite sapphire-blue star-shaped blossoms, which hang delicately for a day or two, before being scattered like confetti across the garden by even the lightest of breezes.
The nutritional and medicinal benefits of borage are wide-ranging. It is often used by medical herbalists as a metabolic regulator, hormonal regulator (making it useful in the treatment of symptoms of PMS or the menopause) and anti-inflammatory - particularly for respiratory inflammations such as bronchitis. Many gardeners also claim it improves the health and taste of vegetables and fruit next to which it grows.
You can eat raw borage leaves in salads; apparently it lends a flavour akin to cucumber. Also, the leaves can be cooked, similarly to spinach and used in soups and pasta dishes. In some Italian regions, borage is used to stuff ravioli - I love the sound of that! A cup of raw borage contains large quantities of vitamin A as well as several of the B vitamins, a significant amount of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc and selenium - to name a few!
Borage flowers can also be eaten and provide a honey-sweet taste to deserts, salads and even drinks. A lovely trick to add interest and colour to summer drinks is to pop some of these flowers into your ice cube trays, before making ice. They add a beautiful summery something to a chilled glass of wine or elderflower cordial.
So if you have some of this delightful summer herb growing in your garden, try one of these traditional culinary uses before the flowers all scatter to the wind.