garlic mustard

garlic mustard
I love to find edible “weeds” like this one: garlic mustard! I served it in a salad this weekend, and it was a big hit.

If you are like me, you notice different plants–trees, weeds, flowers–during the day and you wonder what they are. Have you every seen a plant like this? Clumps of it have been appearing my yard this spring. It kind of reminds me of wasabi. The roots smell like garlic. Could it be edible?

Here’s the verdict from Tom Patterson at Wild Purveyors:

Garlic mustard, eat it! They are best eaten at this stage of growth before flowering. It can be eaten fresh, but I prefer it cooked and treated like spinach. Makes a good pesto.

Enough said! I served it fresh with tender greens like red vein sorrel, green oak, and green mustard frill, with a simple dressing of balsamic, olive oil, and mustard.

A little more research reveals that garlic mustard–Alliaria petiolata–is an invasive species. Uh oh. Not another one! (The Plant Conservation Alliance calls it an “Ecological Threat” to native plants like spring beauty, wild ginger, bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, and trillium, saying “garlic mustard outcompetes native plants by aggressively monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil and space.”) Everyone in North America must do their part to eat it all up!

If you don’t have any garlic mustard in your yard, check with Wild Purveyors. Buen provecho!

Garlic mustard with friseé and other mixed greens, served as a salad with simple balsamic dressing
Garlic mustard with fresh mixed greens, served as a salad with simple balsamic dressing

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