Eat Garlic Mustard Shoots, Not Leaves!   5 comments

It’s difficult to reconcile my feelings toward several invasive species; most especially Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata

It’s so pretty; and so tasty.  But, it’s choking out many native species.  If only more folks foraged, the problem might just be solved! 

And, the young stalks and flowering tops are very tasty; without the bitterness contained in the leaves.  The flavor is somewhere between string beans and asparagus, with a dash of garlic and no strings or sliminess.  We enjoy the tender, crunchy, young stalks as a trail nibble, raw in salad, added to soup, stew and stir-fry; or as a side dish.  The tops get dried for a dash of color and flavor, when the winter winds howl.

Garlic Mustard shoots are a quick, convenient, tasty, free, nutritious, and ecologically sensible vegetable. And, they are at their peak, right now, when the plant is just about to flower, or has only a few flowers open.  Just strip the leaves, chop to desired length and enjoy them raw or give a quick boil.  Easy!  And, they can be blanched and frozen, for later use.

Garlic mustard is a biennial, from 12 to 48 inches in height. Leaves and stems emit the distinctive odor of onion or garlic when crushed (particularly in spring and early summer), which helps distinguish it from other mustard plants.

First year plants consist of a rosette of 3 or 4 round, scallop edged leaves rising 2 to 4 inches. Second-year plants generally produce one or two flowering stems topped with a cluster of white, four petal flowers.

Stems are fuzzy footed,  leaves are alternate, triangular, have large teeth, and are 2 to 3 inches. Garlic mustard can also be distinguished by its taproot, which is slender, tan-ish white, with a purple core and “s” shaped. 

In early spring, before the shoots emerge, the roots can be used to make a horseradish like condiment.  It’s difficult to find roots large enough for this not to be a bit of a task.  But, it does make a tasty, garlicky, hot sauce, when ground fine with a splash of vinegar, added.  And, it is amazing on deviled eggs.  Once the shoots emerge the roots toughen and no one enjoys spicy wood chips!

Thanx for stopping by.  See you next time.

Just click on any photo to enlarge.



5 responses to “Eat Garlic Mustard Shoots, Not Leaves!

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  1. Pingback: If You See Japanese Knotweed and Garlic Mustard, Along the Path, KILL THEM! « Forageporage's Blog

  2. Thanks for the great description of garlic mustard. We have plenty 🙂 so I’m going to try some of your culinary suggestions.

  3. P.S. Last night, as I was about to coat eggplant, to fry, I decided to add crushed GM tops to the coating. What a great idea! After coating the eggplant, there was a little egg mixture and a little coating mix, leftover; so I wisked them together, added a couple of chopped GM shoots, and fried into little GM cakes. OMGoodness, they were soooo very tasty; as was the eggplant! I used 6 heaping TBS gluten free flour mix (certainly any flour will work), 1 heaping TBS corn meal and 4 heaping TBS GM tops; which I crushed in my fingers, certainly they could be chopped. Love fresh forageables!

  4. Pingback: Good bye, Garlic Mustard! « Forageporage's Blog

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