butterflies on angelica


Vinorel (wine painting) on blue paper with pastel chalk
One of my favorite herb (the biggest one) in the garden: Angelica. I have introduced it last year in my garden and made liquor with the stems. It’s a biennial plant which has set seeds this year and will dye in august. I hope that new plants will come from the seeds next year.
Angelica has an interesting flavor that’s hard to describe.  It’s a licorice aroma and taste, but there’s something else in there too, like celery maybe.  Somewhat like basil and fennel, it has a complex flavor that works well with a surprising number of ingredients.

Numerous historical texts going back to the 15th century sing Angelica’s praises as a wonder herb, mostly because it was believed (erroneously) to cure bubonic plague. From that happy association, it developed a reputation as the go-to herb for whatever health problems were pesky at any particular  time — a kind of cure-all panacea. Just give ’em some angelica tonic and send them on their way.  This went on for a century or more.

Lucky for us, angelica is as useful in the kitchen and in the garden as it was thought to be in the sickroom — or almost. It has a lush and tropical appearance that makes a nice backdrop for less showy plants and herbs.  It also grows to a nice height, over five feet, and fills in nicely. For such a large herb, it manages to appear lacy and somewhat delicate, thanks to its flowers, which grow impressively large umbels.


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