We don’t always think of geraniums when we think of herbs, but geraniums (more properly Pelargonium) have been an important part of the herbal world since they were introduced to Europe from Africa in the 15th century by a Portuguese navigator.
At one time, cooking with geranium sugar was a way to add zest to a diet unrelieved by foreign spices and other exotic touches and geranium scented sugars were popular in baking, but the citrus and rose flavoured leaves can also add a surprising burst of flavour to other dishes.
Grilled Salmon and Citrus-Scented Geranium Sauce
Citrus Ginger Sauce
1 1/2 cups orange juice
4 tbsp finely chopped lemon, lime, or ginger-scented geranium leaves
2 tbsp each: fresh lemon juice, honey and chopped candied ginger
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
4 tsp grated orange rind, optional
In a small saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened. (Makes one cup)
1 1/2 lb salmon steaks or fillets
1/2 cup Citrus Ginger Sauce (above)
Marinate salmon in one-half the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Grill marinated salmon on hot barbeque or under cook broiler for 7 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily with a fork and turns opaque.
Serve with remaining sauce. Serves 4
Rose-geranium Scented Rice
Coconut milk lends this dish a slightly sweet and creamy element and is a perfect match for the rose-scented leaves; use vegetable or chicken broth if coconut milk is not available.
1/2 cup water
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tbsp finely chopped* rose-scented Geranium leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup jasmine or other long-grain rice
In a medium saucepan, bring water and coconut milk to the boil over medium-high heat. Stir in pelargonium leaves, salt and rice.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately. Serves 4
* You can also enclose leaves in a cheesecloth sac or a tea strainer and discard the tough leaves after cooking.
Pelagonium citronellum, Pelagonium Frensham, Pelagonium Lime, or Pelagonium Prince of Orange are all natural choices for chicken recipes. They add a tangy touch with just the right amount of fresh flavour.
2 tbsp Canola oil
4 locally raised chicken breasts or
8 thighs (about 3 lb)
1 large red pepper, cored and sliced
2 fresh green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 can (10 oz) chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp finely chopped lemon-scented pelargonium leaves
1 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 1.5 litre ovenproof baking dish. Heat oil over medium heat and brown chicken on both sides. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle pepper slices and onion over chicken.
Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes without turning chicken.
Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, chicken broth, apricots, lemon scented leaves, and lemon rind, if using. Pour over chicken and vegetables.
Remove dish from heat, cover and bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until chicken is done. Serves 4.