An herb to know: angelica (angelica archangelica)

Yield: 1 recipe

Measure Ingredient
\N \N Broad green angelica stems
\N \N Water enough to cover the stems
\N \N Sugar; same volume as water


"Angelica has a variety of culinary uses. Its unique flavor is difficult to describe except by listing its components: musky, bitter, celerylike, aniselike, slightly sweet, fresh. The hollow stems are jellied or candied (see recipe below) and either eaten alone or used to decorate desserts. About ¼ cup fresh angelica stems, cut in short pieces, can be added to rhubarb to counteract its tartness and reduce the necessary sugar by as much as one-third. The stems and dried roots are sometimes boiled like celery and can be cooked with sugar like rhubarb. The slightly bitter leaves may be served with fish, and sometimes are candied with the stems.

"Consuming large amounts of angelica can cause photosensitivity in some individuals, and pregnant women should avoid using any part of the plant. Commercially, the seeds and see oil flavor liqueurs and desserts, and scent cosmetics. The pungent, juniper-flavored roots are used with or instead of juniper berries to flavor gin. Arkansas or Quapaw Indians mixed the root of A. atropurpurea with tobacco for smoking. The robust angelica stalks are handsome in dried arrangements, and the coumarin-containing leaves sometimes serve as a potpourri fixative."

CANDIED ANGELICA STEMS ====================== The best stems for candying are the new growth in the second year. Cut them into manageable pieces, then blanch 1-2 minutes. Peel the blanched stems, them cut them into pieces 2 inches long by ½ inch wide. Simmer 20 minutes in a syrup made of the sugar and water. Drain, reserving the syrup, and refrigerate stems and syrup, covered, for four days.

Reheat the angelica in the syrup and cook for 20 minutes, or until candied. The temperature of the syrup should reach 238 F. Drain the angelica and dry on racks set over waxed paper. Store in airtight containers.

[NOTE: For safety's sake, do not gather angelica in the wild. Wild angelica is easily confused with the deadly poisonous lookalike, water hemlock (Cicula maculata).]

* Excerpted from: 'An Herb to Know' column by Sharon Hagemann * The Herb Companion - August/September 1993 * Typed for you by Karen Mintzias

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