Borage is not a herb that I am very familiar with, although I understand that it is commonly used in Germany and my dad has grown some successfully in his herb patch in North Yorkshire.
The plant grows wild across Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.
Fresh leaves. The blue flowers are sometimes used as a food colorant.
Boraginaceae (borage family).
The taste of borage is weak and very similar to that of fresh cucumber.
The common name "borage" and botanical genus name borago can be traced back to Medieval Latin borrago, by way of French and Spanish. The name borrago has an Arabic origin, from abu buraq "father of sweat" (from the use of borage leaves in diaphoretic medicines) or from abu huras "father of roughness" (from the texture of the leaf surface).
Many European languages have names related to borage, including French bourrache, German borretsch, Basque borrai, and Greek borantsa. Despite the Arabic origin of borage, modern Arabic has no related plant name. Instead, borage is named lisan athaur "tongue of the bull" in reference to the thick, uneven leaves.
The characteristic cucumber aroma of borage gives rise to names such as Swedish gurkört, German gurkenkraut and Dutch komkommerkruid, all meaning "cucumber herb". The Baltic names Lithuanian agurklė, Latvian gurķumētras and Estonian kurgirohi also contain a "cucumber" element.
Species name officinalis refers to a "drug", "medicine" or "plant".
Borage is a culinary herb mostly popular in Central Europe. Its light cucumber fragrance is mostly suited for raw vegetable salads and borage is also used to make pureed soups. Boiling, frying and simmering quickly destroy most of its characteristic fragrance.
In many regions of Germany, sauces prepared from herbs are popular in spring and many of the recipes contain borage. Best known (even outside of Germany) is the grüne Soße "green sauce" made in Frankfurt. The traditional recipe calls for seven herbs: parsley, chervil, chives, cress, sorrel, salad burnet and borage, with lemon balm sometimes added as an eighth. Grüne Soße is served with boiled or braised meat, boiled new potatoes, fish and vegetables. In ancient recipes the sauce was prepared with herbs and vegetable oil only, resulting in a mayonnaise-like product, whereas in more contemporary recipes dairy products are used (yoghurt, crème fraîche or sour cream) together with boiled egg yolks. The sauce is seasoned with vinegar or lemon juice, white pepper, optionally pureed garlic and a dash of mustard paste. Similar recipes, probably historical predecessors of grüne Soße, are sauce vert in France and Ligurian pesto.