Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Eat the pestiferous garlic mustard!

One way to get rid of the invasive alien weed, garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata - EAT it! Apparently the introduced weed is highly nutritious and if you like garlic you can use the weed to flavor your food with an allicin like taste. According to Wild Man Steve the NYC wildfood expert, the root of the plant has a taste similar to horseradish so you can grate some in vinegar and use it similarly.

I guess the toxin produced by the plant only affects fungi and not humans. So eat away! Somehow it's doubly satisfying to get rid of a weed by consuming it. Sort of a payback. Use my soil unbidden and I'll eat you. Maybe if word gets out that it's good to eat the weed will be eradicated. Make it go extinct. After all, our unbridled foraging and hunting have relegated much flora and fauna to extinction. Wishful thinking on my part as our neighbors (and even a master gardener) were aghast that we would eat lambsquarter and amaranth both estimable comestibles in my opinion!

So help save the wildflowers and trees by eating a pest.

Here are websites that have information about the edibility of garlic mustard.

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden site. Includes a recipe for garlic mustard pesto!

Wildmansteve's site at econetwork.net.



Blogger Annie in Austin said...

My last Illinois garden was carpeted with garlic mustard when we moved in, and we fought it for over a decade.
Historians there also said that it came in with settlers - that they needed some kind of fresh green, and this very early appearing plant was traditionally eaten in spring.
Also that it appeared first along the railroad tracks, then moved outward into the rest of the town.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

6:50 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
I guess you can hardly blame the settlers who wanted an easy to grow green after a long hard winter. Probably prevented scurvy and was a familiar potherb. Interesting that it grew along railroad tracks and spread that way.

If it originated in Europe, why aren't all their trees, shrubs and wildflowers decimated by now? Did they keep it in check by eating the weed?

6:18 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Interesting point... maybe it has some other biological or environmental controls there that it doesn't have here?

I don't know if I could bring myself to eat it, though. I love garlic, but I've deeply despised that stuff for over two years now...

8:15 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Kim, what better way to get revenge for those two miserable years than eating your enemy? Since it's in the mustard family, it must be full of vitamins.

9:14 AM  

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