Borage is sometimes called starflower because of its small, star-shaped blue flowers. The herb leaves are often picked fresh and added to cool, summertime drinks. Borage has a light, cool flavor similar to cucumber which adds a fresh taste to ice teas. It can also be dried and brewed in hot teas and other drinks. The flowers are dried and added to potpourri mixes, used for both their color and light fragrance. Drying borage allows you to enjoy it even after it is no longer growing in winter.
Pick borage herb leaves before the flower buds open, as the leaves become bitter after blooming. Harvest leaves from stems on the outside of the plant. Harvest flowers for potpourri right after they bloom and before they begin to wilt.
Spread the leaves or flowers out on a drying screen. Use an old window screen if you don't have a drying screen. Leave 1 inch of space between each leaf so they don't touch or overlap each other.
Place the screen in a warm, dry room so the leaves and flowers can dry completely. Turn the borage once every two to three days to ensure even drying.
Check the leaves for dryness after one week. Dry borage leaves feel brittle and paper-like. If the leaves are still moist or feel leathery, allow them to dry an additional week.
Store the borage in a sealed plastic bag once the leaves finish drying. Store the leaves whole or grind them to flakes in a mortar and pestle so they are ready to add to tea mixtures.
Things You Will Need
- Drying screen
- Plastic bags
- Mortar and pestle
- Store borage and other herbs in a cool, dark room or cabinet. Heat and direct light cause herbs to lose their flavor more quickly.
- Use dried borage within three months in order to appreciate it at peak flavor.
- Harvest leaves and flowers in early afternoon after the dew on the plant has dried; otherwise, borage is more prone to mildewing during the drying process.
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