Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

woodruff Galium odoratum, a wild herb of Europe and W. Asia, now also found in N. America. It has sweetly fragrant flowers and leaves which, when dried, have a lasting scent of new-mown hay; so it is also called ‘sweet woodruff’. The plant has a reputation for being invigorating.

Woodruff is used to flavour some N. European sausages and certain French jellies and puddings, but its main use is in drinks, especially of the cooling summer ‘cup’ type. It is particularly popular in Germany, where the young shoots are steeped in white wine, sometimes with the addition of brandy and sugar, to make Maitrunk.