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Video: Borago Cucumber Instead Of Cucumbers
Borage cucumber herb is fun to eat and drink
Cucumbers, of course, are almost irreplaceable vegetables for us. They are good when fresh, and few would refuse salted or pickled crispy cucumbers. However, this article will not talk about cucumbers at all, but about their interesting substitute - cucumber herb.
By the way, you can still argue which was introduced into the culture earlier: cucumbers or cucumber herb. Most likely, the second, since already the ancient Romans endowed it with extraordinary properties to cheer up (cucumbers at that time in Ancient Rome had not yet been heard). But the cucumber herb in ancient times was known as a source of courage and fearlessness. For example, the Mongols did not go on military campaigns without her; Roman soldiers took cucumber herb before battles, and the Crusaders later widely used drinks infused with borage leaves and flowers.
And in the time of Charlemagne, this extraordinary plant even deserved a special mention in the instructions for gardeners. Cucumber grass "… should have been planted in gardens" with the wish: "Let it be cheerfully consumed with food and drink." And all why?
Yes, because it is worth putting young juicy borago leaves in the salad, and a very clear imitation is created: it seems that it is not the grass in the salad, but fresh cucumbers both in taste and in smell. Moreover, cucumber herb smells like cucumbers stronger than cucumbers themselves. It is worth picking the fleshy leaf of this bristly and completely unfriendly-looking grass, and a pleasant cucumber smell will blow on you. For this, the spicy vegetable is called borage, or borage, although the official name of this herb is borage.
A pinch or two of chopped borage leaves, put in a regular vegetable salad, spices it up with such an appetizing smell that the dish turns out to be unusually attractive.
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The magic medicine for courage and mood
Even in ancient times, they noticed the extraordinary properties of this thorny-fluffy herb, which helped with heart weakness, added courage and strength, and improved mood. By the way, today only two of the plants growing in our latitudes have the ability to improve mood - this is the already mentioned cucumber herb and lemon balm. Both, as they say in ancient herbalists, "amuse the soul."
Naturally, this plant has long been widely used in folk medicine. The herb and flowers are used as an enveloping, emollient, diaphoretic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, sedative for colds, edema, headaches and nervous diseases. The infusion is drunk for various skin diseases to improve metabolism. In addition, borago regulates the activity of the heart, restoring its rhythms, improves the state of neurosis and relieves rheumatic pains.
In homeopathy, borage is recommended for cardiac neurosis, depressive conditions and for raising the general tone of the body. Cucumber herb is also recommended in dietary nutrition - for diseases of the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, vascular system, myocardial infarction.
Method of application: take 1 tbsp. a spoonful of flowers or 3 tbsp. tablespoons of herbs for 1 glass of boiling water; insist before cooling; strain. Drink 1 tbsp. spoon three times a day. With daily use, the course of treatment is 3-4 weeks. For skin diseases, herbal decoctions can also be used in the form of baths and compresses.
Borago is an annual plant 30-60 cm high, densely covered with hairs, on the leaves they look like white fluff, and on the stem, the hairs are coarser. The lower leaves are very large and wrinkled with normal care, while the upper leaves are much smaller. Borago flowers are also unusual: large, blue or blue with a pinkish tinge, very fragrant and attracting a lot of beneficial insects, and therefore cucumber grass is considered a very good honey plant. And she is able to decorate any site, especially since the grass blooms for a long time. True, there is one nuance: if you do not control the collection of seeds, then next year the borage will delight you with seedlings throughout the site. Although this is not critical, as these seedlings can be quickly harvested for spring salad. Seed germination lasts for 2-3 years.The total growing season from seedling of cucumber grass to seed production is approximately 70-80 days.
A little about agricultural technology
This plant does not require any special cares and is generally very unpretentious (unlike cucumbers, which need to be patronized all season). Even with the slightest care, the borago produces lush greenery and juicy, tender shoots. Let's briefly dwell on the main agrotechnical features of this interesting plant:
1. It grows on various soils, but a good harvest can only give on light and fertile lands. Any garden crop, under which fresh manure was applied, can be its predecessor.
2. Borago is extremely cold-resistant, the first shoots appear immediately after thawing of the soil.
3. Very hygrophilous. With a lack of moisture, the leaves become coarse and tasteless, and the plant itself blooms ahead of time. Flowering can be delayed by constant and abundant watering right from the moment of sowing the seeds.
4. The plant is light-requiring, but capable of producing a good harvest even with a little shade. Moreover, in hot weather, it is necessary to sow only in partial shade, since in the sun the borage quickly throws out flower stems and coarsens.
5. Borago is intended for outdoor cultivation, but can be grown in the winter-spring period on a windowsill in order to obtain early vitamin production.
6. Propagated by seeds. Both early spring sowing and sowing before winter, as well as sowing during the entire growing season are possible. If the goal is to obtain flowering plants, then they need to allocate a sufficient area of nutrition (distance between plants 45-55 cm), and early crops are also needed. To obtain fresh greenery, the seeds are sown much denser (15-20 cm between plants) throughout the growing season, approximately every 15-18 days, from early spring to late autumn. An even more compact planting with subsequent thinning is also possible - the plucked out plants are used for food.
7. Borago does not require any special care. It is enough just to water in a timely manner, loosen the plantings (it is better to simply mulch the soil between the plants) and remove weeds.
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Cleaning just around the corner
One of the pleasant features of this amazing plant is, probably, that it can be removed even at the stage of cotyledon leaves and the appearance of the first leaf. Such plants are harvested entirely. By the way, it is then that the borago leaves are the most delicate and tasty, and do not require any culinary processing. The leaves of the cucumber grass can be harvested before the flower stem appears, but not later, since when the peduncles are thrown out, they become very coarse.
For the winter, flowers are mainly harvested for culinary needs. They are dried in the usual way. As for drying the leaves, it all depends on the goals that you are pursuing. If the goal is to get vitamin supplements for winter dishes or medicinal raw materials, then you can spend effort and stock the required amount of raw materials. Only drying this plant will be difficult, because it is too fleshy and contains a lot of water. Moreover, perhaps the only way to dry the leaves is to pre-cut them into very thin strips and spread all this raw material in an almost transparent layer in the wind or draft, but in the shade. Attempts to dry whole leaves will fail as they will simply rot. If you want to save cucumber herb for the winter as an aromatic seasoning, then you will definitely have to say goodbye to this idea, since, unfortunately,during the drying process, cucumber grass (with the exception of flowers) loses its unique aroma almost completely.
In the Middle Ages, cucumber herb became so popular that it was added to many dishes. Borage was eaten salted or candied, in seasonings and botvinia. His flowers "… were used everywhere to feel easy on the heart, worries disappear, the state of mind rises." Moreover, in France this herb was called "joy of the heart" or "heart flower" and was widely used to flavor wines and vinegar, while flowers were added to glasses of wine and soft drinks.
Today, cucumber herb is especially popular in the USA and European countries. As a rule, young leaves of this plant are used for food. They are added to various salads (from cucumbers, cabbage, spinach, celery with onions, lettuce), vinaigrette, and simply replace it with more whimsical greens in culture, in particular, spinach. In addition, cucumber herb is stewed, used as a side dish for meat, added to okroshka, soups, sauces and marinades, to fried fish, and even make a filling for pies from it.
Fresh flowers, which have a sweetish honey taste, are used to flavor refreshing drinks such as punch and punch, and are also used to flavor beer, wines, tinctures, and table vinegar. Fresh flowers are also added to salads, and baked goods and pastries are flavored with dried ones. Flowers are also consumed in candied form. In our country, the plant is usually put in salads, okroshka, mushroom soup and cold borscht. Let's dwell on a few simple recipes using borage.
Finely chop the herbs - cucumber, dill, parsley, green onions - mix it with warm mashed potatoes and pour over sour cream. Add salt to taste. This salad is very tasty when it is warm. When cooled, the taste of the salad deteriorates.
Finely chopped cucumber herb is mixed with sliced boiled potatoes, sprinkled with grated horseradish, or a little horseradish dressing is added. Then pour over sour cream and salt to taste.
Garden cress and cheese salad
Take an equal amount of cucumber grass and garden cress, add cheese grated on a coarse grater (about half of the total volume of the grass) and a grated boiled egg, pour over the salad with sour cream and salt to taste.
Put potatoes, green peas, carrots, nettles, green onions in boiling chicken broth and cook until tender. Add spices to taste. Then add finely chopped cucumber herb and boiled egg, serve with sour cream.
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