Ruta

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Joanna Savage

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Ruta
« on: July 11, 2013, 06:07:32 PM »
There are several plants of rue in this garden. It is one of the aromatics that Italian nurseries sell. Even though I thought I was being careful on three occasions my arms have blistered where I have touched the leaves while pruning. It takes at least a week for the itching to wane. So I was horrified when a young Italian who was helping me in the garden ate a few leaves before I could stop him. I haven't heard that it did him any harm. Do others have experience with handling rue. Isn't it used to flavour spirits such as grappa or gin?

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Alisdair

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Re: Ruta
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 07:07:07 PM »
My (oldish) herb book says "Many people chew a leaf on a hot summer's day, but others are allergic to it and in large quantities it is dangerous." It's not nearly as commonly used in cooking as it used to be in medieval and ancient times, but some people do use young shoots in salads.
Ordinary rue is a flavouring for grappa, but the little leaves in the bottles of "Grappa con ruta" are of Ruta chalepensis instead.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society