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I Love Garlic Mustard
I Love Garlic Mustard

by Susun Weed

Alliaria officinalis
Alliaria petiolata

One of the most obvious weeds around me is garlic mustard. Growing in dense stands, it pleases the eye and the tongue. A truer bitter spring tonic is not to be found. I eat as much garlic mustard as I can all year long. Here's how.

I harvest garlic mustard by pulling the entire plant, root and all, out of the ground. These harvested plants are put into a big bucket with a couple of inches of water at the bottom, making sure the roots are in the water.

I can cut leaves for salad or garnish from the plants in my bucket rain or shine, night or day. They stay good for 7-10 days if kept cool. Adds lots of flavor to my sandwiches and snacks.

I enjoy cooked garlic mustard too. First, I remove the leaves from the stalks. When I have a lot — like really a LOT — I contemplatively sit and snip off the leaf stalks. I am aiming for just leaves.

To cook, I heat some fat in my cast iron skillet. Bacon fat is yummy. Olive oil is very healthy. I throw the garlic mustard leaves into the hot fat and stir. When they wilt, I add shoyu (real tamari) and a little water.

Then I turn the cooking fire way down and tightly lid my greens. They are ready to eat, and ready to mineralize your bones, in 45-50 minutes. Long cooking makes greens more nourishing and more easily digested.

While that's cooking, I carefully cut off the roots remaining on the de-leafed garlic mustard stalks. I make sure to leave an inch or two of reddish leaf stalks. That color lets us know there is a powerful antioxidant available: anthocyanin.

I chop the roots and their leaf stalks. Fill a jar with them. Add pasteurized apple cider vinegar, label, and lid. (I put an "x" on my vinegar bottle after pasteurizing. You can see it in the photo.)

This vinegar is a delicious antioxidant boost and a wonderful anti inflammatory. It is especially helpful to counter seasonal allergies. I use it as a condiment on salads, beans, grains, and cooked greens. Makes a yummy marinade too.

Green blessings abound.

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