Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In The Kitchen With...Epazote

(Image Source)

Epazote herbs have a pungent flavor. The fragrance of epazote is strong & difficult to describe. Some have compared it to mint, camphor and citrus. So you see, the aroma is complex in description. Although in Mexican cooking, it is traditionally used in black beans due to it's flavor, it can also be used in flavoring other "traditional" Mexican dishes.

"Epazote is similar to cilantro, dandelions and mustard greens in that it has a distinctive odor, taste and flavor, and novice cooks should be cautious when adding fresh or dried epazote to a meal. It can invite immediate and powerful reactions ranging from pleasant surprise to intense aversion. " (reference source)

This herb has been looked upon for centuries by some for it's supposed medicinal purposes. It has been believed to aid in the treatment of several ailments, such as hysteria and asthma to name just a few. I have not personally read FDA reports to back this up, but I admit I have not searched hard enough on the issue. However, the most common use for epazote can be found right in the kitchen. It is many times added to the cooking pot of beans, as it is supposed to help in better digestion of the bean. With better digestion, comes less flatulence caused by eating your beans. This however is merely a claim...I am not guaranteeing it. However, it would be worth a try if you can get your hands on some of it.

You can typically find epazote in your health food type markets (i.e. Whole Foods) and other specialty type markets. If you're fortunate enough, you may find it in your local grocer.


mrshester said...

Interesting! I had never heard of this herb before, thank you for sharing!

cranky grandma said...

I agree Mrs. Hester! Since it has a mint, camphor type property, I wonder if a pinch of this in a simmering pot would help with stuffy noses? Up north the air is so dry right now that we have stuffy noses most all winter, so I'm going to look into this little gem!