Properly Preserve Woodruff

Like wild garlic, woodruff is a messenger of spring when it invites you to gather it in the forest from March and April. Properly preserved, it can also be used all year round as a medicinal and aromatic herb in the kitchen.

Waldmeister konservieren

Recognizing and correctly dosing woodruff

The easiest time to recognize woodruff, which grows to a maximum height of 30 centimeters, is in the wild during the flowering season in April and May, when the filigree white flowers blossom on the upper shoot tips of woodruff. Actually, however, it is then almost too late for a harvest, because typically the plant is cut for drinks such as the May punch already before flowering. In principle, a later harvest is still possible, but then the dosage in the kitchen must be much more sparing in order to avert toxic effects due to the coumarin, which is contained much more strongly after flowering. For a storage of the woodruff for year-round use there are the following possibilities:

  • freezing
  • drying
  • the preparation of woodruff syrup

Drying or freezing woodruff

When woodruff is dried or frozen, the coumarin contained in it is also broken down, which ensures that the aroma in food and drinks develops even better. A period of about one hour is usually sufficient for freezing. However, you can also let the leaves wilt for a few hours or overnight before steeping them in liquid for fresh use. If you want to preserve woodruff longer, you can put the whole bundles or individual leaves in portions in the freezer. When drying, make sure the bundles are well ventilated and shaken several times so that all areas can dry equally well and no leaves stick together.

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The preparation of woodruff syrup

A delicious refreshment with woodruff flavor can be prepared all year round from woodruff syrup. To make it, let the washed and shaken woodruff bundles wilt overnight before steep them in a boiled sugar solution with lemon juice for a few hours. Then squeeze the leaves well and boil the sugar solution again before bottling.

Tips & Tricks
Even if you don’t want to use woodruff in the kitchen, it makes an easy-to-care-for ground cover in shady spots in the garden and, when hung in bunches, provides a pleasant smell in the house.


  • James Jones

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