I planted some Epazote earlier this year. I was keen to know more about this mysterious Mexican herb so figured the best way would be to find some seeds and grow some for myself. Epazote is not that well known but is apparently a staple of many traditional Mexican dishes dating back as far as the Aztec’s. It’s biggest claim to fame is that it is supposed to ease ‘abdominal discomfort’ (I think that means gas!) so it is frequently added to bean dishes and soups.
So what’s it taste and smell like? Well, I’m glad you asked but I am not sure how to describe it and as is typical I am finding it difficult to accurately describe a taste or a smell. Whilst researching this herb I recall reading that it has a gasoline smell, I also saw some describe it as smelling of creosote and turpentine. Sounds delicious! It’s got something of an anise or fennel thing going on but quite a bit stronger. It is certainly very distinct and I’m not sure how you could replace it in dishes where it is called for being that it is so unique.
It should be used in moderation as large quantities can be potentially dangerous. It grows prolifically and could be growing as a weed in many gardens so it could also be dangerous to your other plants if left unchecked. If you do grow it yourself make sure to keep an eye on it – or do as I have and grow small amounts in the vertical hyrdro towers or in containers to keep it under control.
Here’s a link to a recipe I found for Mexican Black Beans with Epazote. Enjoy!