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Apr 17

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Borage- Beneficial, Beautiful and Edible


Borage is new to me.  I admit I knew nothing about it until I sowed some borage seeds that were given to me.  As the plant started to grow I realized that I had no idea what to do with it.  Is it a flower, can you eat it, is it mainly for medicinal purposes? After a recent discussion on my Facebook page I started to learn that borage has many uses, it is edible, medicinal and ornamental. This led me to do more online research and I’m excited to share with you what I have learned about this wonderful plant.

  1. Borage, also know as “starflower” is considered an herb, is an annual and is self seeding.
  2. Borage attracts beneficial pollinating bees to your garden and makes a good companion plant for strawberries, squash and tomatoes.  The flavor of the tomato is also improved when planted with borage. 
  3. Young leaves and flowers are edible and have a light cucumber flavor. Use leaves to make Hank Shaw’s Borage and Ricotta Ravioli  or Mario Batali’s Borage Fritters. Use the periwinkle blue flowers as a cocktail garnish such as in the La Guera by Chris Bostick.  Or you can make fancy ice cubes.  Check out these Google images where borage flowers are used in salads.  Stunning! (Go light on the flowers as they have a mild laxative effect.) :-o

I’ll take more pictures along the way and look forward to sharing future recipes that include my new found herb…borage.

Garden Guides has more culinary and medicinal uses for this versatile plant. This list is endless. 

Happy planting! :-)

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  • Suzie Salmon

    I usually plant basil under my tomatoes, but more as a pest deterent, so I’m really intrigued with enhancing their flavor using borage. I’m going to try this on one of the pots and conduct a little experiment this summer to see if I can taste a difference (sorry, that’s the science geek in me). Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Suzie! I’ve also heard that planting bee balm/bergamot next to tomato plants improves there flavor. It is fun to experiment in the garden :-)

      • Suzie Salmon

        Oh, multiple experiments! I love it!!!

  • Cindy

    We put chopped borage leaves in homemade soft pretzels and sauteed leaves in garlic, olive oil and a little butter (you need a lot, it shrinks quickly). It’s growing like crazy near our blackberries. Maybe it will sweeten them up!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Cindy! That’s sounds like a great idea! I tasted one of the leaves last night and couldn’t believe how interesting it’s flavor is.

  • Garden Hoard

    Borage is definitely new to me but it sounds pretty cool. Will have to grow some this year or next!

  • Carol

    Borage is a beneficial and versatile plant. Borage oil is PHENOMENAL for skin care. You can take borage oil soft gel capsules as a dietary supplement and you could also squeeze the oil out of the capsule and apply directly to your face. My thoughts are that it’s best to refrigerate for shelf life but best to check on the bottle to see what they recommend.

    • Anonymous

      I’m liking this herb more and more Carol! Thanks for the link…looks like good stuff.

  • Julie

    Thanks for the info. I’ve never grown borage, but maybe I’ll give it a try. If Mario Batali uses it, then I’m sold.

  • John Griffin

    Interesting post. You rarely see borage in the US. In England, it’s a traditional garnish for Pimm’s Cup. In the US we usually substitute mint because borage is so hard for most of us to find.

    –Kitchen Riffs

    • Anonymous

      That’s interesting John! I’m excited to used it cooking and in cocktails. Thanks for stopping by!