If lovage is not used fresh, drying offers a way of preserving it. In order to preserve the aroma, the right harvest time and the drying procedure are important.

Best leaf/shoot harvest time

Lovage ( Levisticum officinale ) can be harvested between spring and autumn. The leaves are most aromatic just before flowering, which begins in June. Since aromas are lost through drying, the best time to harvest lovage is in May until shortly before the flowers begin to bloom in early or mid-June. Small losses are then not very noticeable – provided that the harvested is dried immediately and correctly. Once stored, the Maggi herb, as it is also called, quickly loses a lot of its aroma and quality.

Best time of day

A dry, warm morning should be chosen for harvesting. After the night, the plant starts up its metabolism again in the morning with the first light of day, which, however, favors the intensity of the aroma. A little heat in the morning helps the process, while the midday sun can reduce the aromas again. In addition, only dew-dry parts of the plant are to be harvested.

Tip: If maggi herb is harvested frequently, many new shoots will grow back quickly. If you want to have enough dried material from the plant to use until next spring, you should harvest accordingly often.

Harvest right

So that new shoots can form and the Levisticum officinale ultimately does not become susceptible to diseases, the right cut in the ideal place is important. The following must be observed:

  • Only use a sharp knife or sharp scissors (to prevent frayed cuts)
  • Put the knife/scissors close to the ground
  • Do not cut down into the ground, otherwise there will be no light for the formation of new shoots
  • Cut at an angle to allow moisture to drain
  • Remove unhealthy looking leaves from stems
  • Then only shake the branches to remove dirt, do not wash

Dry lovage

There are two different ways to dry the stems/shoots and leaves of the lovage:

Air drying

Air drying is the gentlest option. The twigs/leaves retain their flavor best if you proceed as follows and stick to important details:

  • Ideal drying place: dark, ventilated and dry
  • Ideal ambient temperature: between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius
  • Absolutely avoid the heat of the sun and heating (also do not “help” with a hair dryer or similar)
  • Tie the shoots together in a small bouquet with twine or other wrapping material at the cut end
  • Hang the bouquet upside down (should be hanging freely so that air can reach all sides)
  • Alternatively: spread out the shoots on a coarse-meshed grid (air should be able to circulate at least two to three centimeters between the grid and the ground)
  • Drying time: depending on the size of the bouquet, about a week – in the case of surface drying, the drying time is usually shorter
  • End of drying: when leaves are easy to crumble and stems are easy to break
  • Electronic drying

Electronic drying of lovage using an oven or dehydrator works faster than air drying. Proceed as follows:

  • Drying temperature: 40 degrees Celsius (definitely not warmer, otherwise the aroma will be greatly reduced)
  • Dehydrator: distribute fresh shoots on the drying sieve and insert them into the dehydrator
  • Oven: Line the baking tray with baking paper, distribute the fresh sprouts evenly and place in the lower part of the oven
  • Make sure shoots are not stacked on top of each other to avoid uneven drying
  • Keep the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape
  • Drying time: about three to four hours
  • End of drying: when leaves rustle (check regularly so as not to exceed the ideal time)
Tip: When using a dehydrator, rotating the sieve(s) speeds up the drying process.

root drying

Under optimal conditions, lovage can live up to 15 years. If they are already weakened beforehand and/or have to/should give way, the optimal time has come to dry the root as well. The taste is similar to that of celery.

That’s how it’s done:

  • Best time: In autumn – ideal: October
  • Significantly fewer aromas when rooting and drying between November and the start of vegetation in spring
  • dig up plant
  • Dry brush/clean roots
  • Cut into smaller pieces
  • Place, type and temperature of drying: as described for leaf and shoot drying
  • Drying time for air drying: between two and four weeks, depending on the thickness of the root
  • Drying time with electrical process: between five and seven hours
  • End of drying: when roots have lost about half their size and no longer bend, but break

seed drying

The lovage seeds are also used in the kitchen and can be dried for a longer shelf life. Whether for salads, sauces or in vegetables, the seeds retain their spicy, celery-like aroma best if the following procedure is followed:

  • Best time: late summer, when the flowers have started to wilt and are brownish
  • Pull out seed heads
  • Suitable for air drying only
  • Hang upside down, as with leaf and shoot air drying
  • Place a bowl or bag underneath to catch seeds (seeds will fall off as they dry)
  • Drying time: about five to seven days at an ambient temperature between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius


Regardless of whether it is dried shoots, leaves, roots or seeds of the Maggi herb, in order for them to last for several months and retain their aroma, they have certain storage requirements:

  • After drying, fill immediately into airtight containers
  • Do not crumble or grind beforehand – only when using
  • Place of storage: dark and dry
  • Ambient temperature: at least ten degrees Celsius – maximum 25 degrees Celsius
  • Shelf life: between 12 and 15 months
Tip: Instead of drying lovage, the shoots and leaves can also be frozen. However, freezing is less recommended for roots and seeds.

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