Sweet Trefoil
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Elizabeth Evans
Posted on: April 15, 2004

Sweet Trefoil is listed in the Richters catalog as a culinary herb. I’d like some examples of how it is used.

Sweet trefoil (Trigonella caerulea) is an annual herb closely related to fenugreek (Trigella foenum-graecum). It is also known as "blue fenugreek" in reference to its blue flowers. It is easy to grow from seeds.

The aromatic, spicy flavour of the dried herb is similar to fenugreek but milder.

It is little known outside the central and alpine regions of Europe where the leaves and flowers are used to flavour cheese, bread, soups, and potato dishes. It is essential for a Swiss cheese called "Schabzieger" or "Sapsago" cheese. Its Swiss name is "Schabziegerklee", a nod to its use in cheese making. It is called "Brotklee" in Tyrol where it is used to make a much loved rye bread called "brotwuerze". A decoction of the herb is used as a flavouring for China tea and the seedlings used as a fresh green with oil and salt.

For more information on sweet trefoil’s culinary uses see: Gernot Katzer’s wonderful spice database: http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/engl/Trig_cae.html.


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