Often recipes we enjoy in ethnic restaurants seem to elude us when
we try to recreate them at home. Usually this is because we don't get the seasonings
quite right. Sometimes the herbs and spices that are used in the recipe don't
seem to appeal to our palate or our noses even though the dish we were served was divine. For instance, both Arugula and Cilantro
have strong unusual odors that often put discerning noses out of joint.
No doubt this is why the Mexican Herb, Epazote has never caught on.
It is just too hard to get past that "old sock" aroma. In
Infusions of Healing, Joie Davidow tells us that the name Epazote comes
from the Nahuatl word for skunk, epatl, and that the Aztecs used Epazote
medicinally to treat internal parasites. Epazote is an abundant weed in
Mexico and parts of northern South America. There, its bitter, musky, lemon
flavor is used to spice up everything from beans and squash to pork and crab
cakes. Young leaves can be wilted and added to soups or stews or combined with
other greens, just as chicory or sorrel would be used in early spring. It is
often used with other herbs, like Mexican Oregano and Cilantro, and, of
A tender perennial herb, Epazote has proven itself hardy in our Zone 8
winters. It dies back to the ground each winter but returns in spring. A heat
loving herb whose flavors are best when grown in full sun, Epazote can be
grown in a medium size container and placed on sunny window or under lights for
the winter, if your winters dip much below 20.