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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

EPAZOTE: Nature's Beano

We were very fortunate to have two Mexican workers help us for 5 years.  Not only did we learn a little Spanish but we were able to have some lessons in harvesting the wild surpluses around our house.  We were treated to Bar-B-queing fish encrusted in salt.  I can't even begin to describe this succulent fish.
We were introduced to eating corn on the cob with Mayo or cream cheese on it.  The boys would constantly save the purslane they pulled to take home with them.  I googled it and tried it.  The taste was fine.  I tried it chopped in a cream cheese spread and steamed with butter.







One of the most beneficial herbs they taught us about was Epazote.  We have found so much about the plant which contradicts what is said about the plant.  The following two sites have the history of the herb and how they use it.





 
 
We have found our epazote is milder than what people refute it to be.  Ours is very heavy on the citrus side.  The creosote smell to us is more akin to the oil of citronella smell on the mosquito candles. (Too much of the herb can impart that flavor when cooked with legumes.)  We cooked it with lentils and found it did prevent gas.  I had the same findings when I cooked chick peas. 

How much is needed in a batch of beans I don't know.  I do know I put 6 stems in a 1 pound batch of dried beans and was able to taste the herb.  It wasn't a bad taste but it was there.  I will probably cut the amount in half the next time.  Knowing it works for us as de-gasser, I went looking for methods to preserve it (I had tried drying it one year and didn't like the results.)  The same thing happened with freezing it.  Googling provided me with information I already knew.

I remembered I had blanched basil to make pesto.  The results were a fabulous pesto which stayed green, not turning black.  I am one to experiment in the kitchen.  I have plenty of epazote so I gave it a try and blanched some.  Voila..it worked.  I dried the excess moisture off and froze it.  Then I thawed it to see what I had.  The only loss I experienced was a little of the flavor, which I compensated for by putting more in the package.  I used it in northern beans I cooked for baked beans.  The anti-gas substance was still there along with a nice citrus flavor.

Blanch it by dropping it in boiling water, stir it around for one second and take it out, placing it in ice water.  Dry it by rolling it in a flour sack towel (a lint free cloth).  Then I divided it into serving sizes and placed each in a sandwich baggie, squeezing out the air before closing the bag.  Each bag was made flat so they could be stacked in the freezer.  After they froze I put them all in a labeled freezer bag.
As always, I suggest to you to, read everything you can about new foods especially wild ones.  Make sure they will be a good addition to your diet.  When collecting wild foods make sure you know positively what you are picking (poison ivy would not make good quiche but lambs quarters does).
 http://organicinstlouis.blogspot.com/2012/03/lambs-quarters-healthy-choice.html
Remember peanuts, which are a good food, can cause health problems.

The picture on the right is a young plant.  A little larger than this is when I pick them. 

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Credit has been given to contributions not my own.
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1 comment:

  1. Your website did not show up. I would like to visit it. Would you type the name of it, without the site info, and I will google it.

    ReplyDelete