Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Borage Ice Cubes

This is the first year that I have grown Borage. They have been grown from seed and planted at the allotment where they are doing their job of attracting pollinating bees very well. Each time I go to the allotment there are so many bees buzzing around the flowers. Although I haven't tried eating the flowers myself, they are actually edible and supposedly have a mild cucumber taste. They can be added to salads, dips or soups, or frozen into individual ice cubes and added to drinks, as I have done here. The flowers are so pretty and I will definitely be growing them again next year, although I probably won't have to sow them myself as apparently, they readily self seed.

The strawberries are now starting to slow down, but I'm really pleased with how they have performed this year. I have potted up some runners so we should have more plants next year. There have only been a few fruits which have had slug damage, and there has been no bird damage at all as the bed was netted.

The lilies have now started to open, but I haven't cut any for the house yet as I didn't have my secateurs with me. I'm hoping they're still as nice when I get to the allotment for my next visit.

The brassicas are growing very well, although I have noticed a few holes in the leaves. This must be slug damage as they are well protected with fine netting to prevent any butterflies from getting anywhere near them. The brassica bed is very weedy, so I must take off the netting on my next trip and tidy the bed up. This will also give me the chance to check over the leaves.

The pumpkin in my son's bed is growing extremely well and has some small fruit on it. It's making a dash for freedom though, scrambling out of the bed, across the path, and into the next bed. Luckily, nothing has been planted in this bed yet, so we'll leave it free to roam. I've never grown pumpkins before, so I'm hoping that as the fruit is only just forming, they will have enough time to ripen.

My daughter has harvested her first beetroot, and they look great. They've grown much better than my own! I've never eaten fresh beetroot before, only pickled, so I'm going to have a go at roasting some. I hope we all like it!


  1. AnonymousJuly 22, 2009

    Roasted beetroot is the best way to eat is so tender and holds much more flavour...I roasted mine for about 5 hours on slow...only problem was it tasted so good I ate most of it straight out the fridge whole...just like an apple!!

    My brassicas also have some damage to the leaves..not sure what has caused it but I don't think it was slugs!!

    The ice cubes look great...please eat some of the flowers so you can tell me how they taste!!

  2. I love your ice cubes Jo. My borage grew so huge and bushy and I too had all the bees loving it. It started to look a bit past it so today pulled it all out I bunged it on the compost. Wish I'd made some ice cubes first! - they'd be perfect for Pimms!


  3. Oo, I really need to get me some Borage. It really does look beautiful. I like the fuzzy stems too. When did you start your seedlings off? My brassicas are also well netted but have recently become rather holey. Hmm. Got LOADS of broccoli and cauliflower to eat! Think I might have to palm it off on my visiting relatives this weekend! I have some flowers cut from the allotment on my table which look fab, so get your lillies cut soon :) My pumpkins have also just started fruiting - 3 on one of 4 plants so far. Fingers crossed for me and your son! Mine also have gone wandering but I have managed to twist them round a bit off the path. I am amazed at how big and quickly they grow. Roasted beetroot? Yum!

  4. What a simply beautiful result! I've heard of borage-flower ice cubes before, but can't remember ever seeing them pictured for real. Truly inspiring.

  5. The ice cubes look lovely!!
    You will love the beetroot, I think the best taste is when its boiled for 10 mins, then the skin just slips off and it tastes divine!!!!

  6. Lovely ice cubes ... We have been straining to see bees around here when you leisurely see them serenading your borage.
    ~ bangchik

  7. I just love roasted beetroot I normally chop it in huge chunks sprinke some roughly ground black pepper and olive oil then cover the pan with foil, wack it in the oven on high for about 15 to 20 minutes wiith a quick five minutes under the grill to crisp up the surface. That way the center is still crunchy and the edges are dehydrated with a concentrated beetroot flavour YUMMY!!!

  8. AnonymousJuly 23, 2009

    Ohhh, borage flower ice cubes - someone has time to do that!? They look lovely!
    (off the opera in the park on Sat - you may hear it where you are...?) Cat x

  9. Lovely ice cubes Jo, I wonder if borage will grow here? Hmm, what else might work?
    Love pickled beats!

  10. My pumpkins are on a bid for freedom too. I'm training them in a circle to try to contain them - space is too valuable.
    The ice cubes are really pretty, bit early for a Pimms though so I'll hold that thought.

  11. Oh that takes me back, Jo. My daughter used to make Borage ice cubes when she was younger to impress her friends. I think there was a bit of a trend of adding edible flowers to salads a few years ago but I have to say it's never appealled to me, although I must admit sugared violets do look very pretty on cakes.

    G x

  12. I tried some of the borage flowers, allotments4you, but I can't say that I'm very impressed with them. Yes, they have a very, very mild cucumber taste if you're looking for it, but if you want to taste cucumber, then why not eat cucumber. I know alot of people like to brighten up their salads with edible flowers, so borage would serve this purpose very well, but personally, I don't like flowers in my salads. It's definitely slugs which are having a go at my brassicas. I lifted the netting and there's just so many of those very small slugs all over the place. They've made nice pretty lacy patterns in all the brassica leaves. Hmph!

    I love your blog header, Tash. It shows borage at it's best.

    I started my borage seeds in April, Steph. I will definitely grow them again. I didn't realise how tall they grow though, I thought they were a compact plant. Yes, I was amazed at how much growth the pumpkin plant had put on between visits. They seem to grow overnight.

    Thanks Tim. I can thoroughly recommend borage for attracting bees.

    I really enjoyed the beetroot, Libby. I haven't tried boiling it yet, that's next on my list.

    I have tried to grow flowers to attract bees this year, Bangchik. I would put borage at the top of the list.

    i tried roasted beetroot, Kella, and I love it. Unfortunately, the rest of the family aren't so keen. Still, more for me.

    Yes, I must have too much time on my hands, Cat. Hope you enjoyed Opera In The Park. I didn't hear it last night, but I've heard it previous years. It must depend on which way the wind's blowing.

    You could always give borage a try, Kat. I've heard that it self seeds really easily here, so I might have more than I want next year.

    I agree with you about space being at a premium, Allot Of Veg. I've only allowed the plant to wander this year as it won't interfere with anything else I've got planted. Hopefully, the allotment will all be in use next year, and then I'll have to train the pumpkins, like you.

    I'm not into flowers in my salads either, Georgie. I say if you want to taste cucumber, then eat cucumber.


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