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Medicinal angelica, a delicious garden spice

Medicinal angelica flower head

Medicinal angelica, or garden angelica, is a very tall herb spice that belongs to the Umbelliferae family. It is much appreciated in cooking, pastries more specifically.

Angelica facts, a summary

Name – Angelica archangelica officinalis
Family – Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
Type – herbs and spices, perennial

Height – 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 meters)
Exposure – sun or shade
Soil – light, well drained and cool

Harvest – from spring to fall.

However, medicinal Angelica also has noteworthy medicinal properties, especially when dealing with exhaustion and tiredness.

Planting angelica

In spring or fall, angelica can be planted as any other plant in well-loosened soil, amended if possible with soil mix.

  • Check that the medicinal angelica has enough space to grow laterally, provide for at least 20 inches (50 cm) to all sides.
  • Don’t transplant your angelica anywhere once it has settled in.

Propagating angelica

This step isn’t very easy, but when you succeed you’ll be very proud of your achievements.

  • Collect fresh seeds in summer.
  • Sow directly in the ground, in seed holes with 3 or 4 seeds per hole.
  • Sprouting should take up to 3 weeks.
  • Eliminate the youngest seedlings, those that aren’t as vigorous, and select only one seedling every three feet (one meter).
  • The 1st year, you’ll only see the plant produce leaves.
  • You’ll have to wait two years for the first stems to start appearing.

Caring for and pruning garden angelica

Proper care for garden angelica will let it grow anywhereEasy to care for, garden angelica only requires very little attention when it is correctly settled in.

  • Water in case of dry spells or strong heat waves.
  • If you don’t wish to collect the seeds, remove the flowers before they start draining resources to produce seeds.

Garden angelica in winter

Before the first frost spells, most often sometime in November depending on the region, you may cut the dried leaves back to ground level.

  • Cut stems back in fall.
  • Recover seeds if you plan to sow more plants in the following spring.

Harvesting medicinal angelica

All the parts of medicinal angelica can be harvested.

  • Edible and spice-like roots can be harvested in fall even in the first year.
  • Stems can be harvested in spring during the second year.
  • It usually takes two years after sowing for the stems to be ready for harvest.

Using angelica

All portions of medicinal or garden angelica can be eaten, be it the roots, the petioles or the stems.

Apart from the therapeutic benefits that go back to the dawn of history, garden angelica also enters into the composition of many recipes.

  • It is used in pastries, where, when candied, it helps decorate desserts.
  • Medicinal angelica is also a key ingredient for gin and other wines and liquors.
  • You can snip it to tiny bits and flavor meals. It is part of the same family as parsley, carrot and dill.
  • Leaves can be eaten raw in mixed salads or cooked just like spinach.

Slivers of angelica root, dried

Smart tip about garden angelica

If you remove wilted flowers regularly, your angelica will live for much longer.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: annca, Albert Dezetter, Husky Kuma
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