Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:32 pm
The colloquial Maggi herb and convinces with a fine spicy flavor. Lovage can be dried well and retains its intense aroma with the right procedure.
- Maggi herb can be stored for a long time dried
- Harvest before the flowering period
- drying process is possible either in the air or in the oven
- then store in an airtight container in a dark place
- chop or grind only for the preparation of dishes
Lovage is a fast-growing and robust perennial, so the leaves can be harvested continuously and used for cooking. Even before the bushy plant starts flowering, it contains its aromatic ingredients such as various essential oils. However, due to the abundant growth, an excess amount of the spicy plant quickly accumulates, which can be preserved for a long time by various drying processes. The ideal time for harvesting is from late spring to early summer. After that, the amount of bitter substances increases and lovage no longer tastes quite as aromatic. However, the seeds, stems and roots also have a strong flavor and are suitable for seasoning and drying.
- Harvest leaves between May and June, before flowering.
- Ideal time is late morning
- Pick only on warm and dry days
- Do not pick in the blazing midday sun
- In heat the essential oils volatilize
- Cut shoots with sharp and disinfected knife
- Cut just above the ground
- Alternatively use strong kitchen scissors
Tip: If you regularly harvest the Maggi herb, significantly more new shoots with aromatic leaves will grow back.
If lovage is not eaten immediately after harvesting, the herb loses its typical flavor when stored for too long. Therefore, it should be prepared for drying quite soon. In doing so, do not wash the leaves with water when cleaning them, as this will result in the loss of flavors.
- Carefully shake off soil and dust
- Wipe off other dirt residues with a slightly damp cloth
- Remove individual wilted leaves
- Pin shoots together to form small bouquets
- Tie with yarn made of natural materials
Air-drying is a particularly gentle method of preserving aromatic herbs. Unlike freezing, lovage loses little of its spicy aroma when dried. However, a slight change in taste is to be expected, and the color of the leaves also changes.
- Ideal is a dark and dry place
- Hang bouquets upside down
- Protect from direct sunlight
- Ensure good ventilation and freedom from dust
- Optimal temperature values are between 20° and 30° Celsius
- Drying process takes about 2-5 days
- Do not let hang too long, cabbage can crumble
Drying in the oven
If you need to do it quickly or if you have no space for air-drying, lovage can also be dried in the oven. On a tray, the leaves can also be laid out next to other herbs, if the individual quantities are not particularly large. In this case, the temperature in the oven must not be too hot, otherwise the herb will burn and lose its spicy flavor. After that, the leaves and stems must cool well before storing them in containers.
- Oven temperature should be below 50° Celsius.
- It is best to set the oven to the lowest setting
- Line a baking tray with baking paper
- Spread shoots on it loosely and with distance from each other
- Open the oven door a little, wedge a wooden spoon between them.
- This allows excess moisture to escape unhindered
- Drying process takes several hours
- Depends on the thickness and size of the leaves
After the drying process, the herb should be placed in suitable containers so that it retains its aromatic flavor for a long time. Otherwise, lovage quickly becomes inedible and bitter.
- Store in opaque cans or jars
- Seal containers airtight, vacuum packed is ideal
- Store in a dark, dry and cool place
- This way the herb will keep for many months
- Chop leaves and stems fresh for cooking
- Alternatively, grind finely in a mortar
Note: Do not grind lovage into a powder immediately after drying, as this will cause the spice to oxidize quickly and then lose its flavor.
Frequently asked questions
Is it also possible to use a dehydrator with the Maggi herb?
The aromatic herb can also be preserved very well with a dehydrator. Good temperature values for this are between 30° to 45° Celsius, the duration is about 1 to 2 days. Lay out the shoots well distributed on the drying screens of the device and rotate in between if there are several levels. In this way, the drying process can be somewhat accelerated.
What is the procedure for the seeds and roots?
The seeds and roots of lovage are much stronger as well as more concentrated in taste and remind of celery. Therefore, use them sparingly. Harvest seeds only in late summer after flowering, when they turn brown. When drying, hang upside down over a paper bag to catch falling seeds from shoots. Roots can be cut from older specimens from fall until new shoots appear in spring. Follow up with the drying process as for leaves.
What can dried lovage be used for in the kitchen?
The herb is excellent for seasoning stews, soups, salads and fish and meat dishes. It gives the dishes an intense flavor aroma, reminiscent of the spice Maggi. In addition, you can prepare a tea with it, which, among other things, gives the stomach and intestinal tract a soothing relief from heartburn and bloating.