Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If You Can't Beat It, Eat It!

I've had an ongoing war with garlic mustard for years. It's a nasty horribly invasive species and is a major threat to our native plants. One garlic mustard flower produces thousands of seeds that remain viable in the soil for up to 5 years. The stuff starts rapidly multiplying and crowds out everything else, stealing light, moisture, and nutrients from wildflowers.

That's why I was thrilled to find out about the Garlic Mustard Challenge this coming Sunday in Patapsco Valley State Park - lots of events - music, food, drink, highlighted by a 'pulling' contest.

Did you know you can eat it? I didn't until last week. Garlic mustard was brought to our country in the late 1800s as a culinary herb. You can eat every part of it - root, stem, flower, seeds. You can put it in salads or cook it the same as you would mustard greens.

I'm spreading the word. If enough of us start eating garlic mustard, maybe a trend will develop, and we can eradicate it without ever using one single chemical!

To start you off, here's a recipe for pesto (note: once it flowers, it gets bitter, so pick it early when it looks like the photo on the right):

1 1/2 cups garlic mustard leaves
1 1/2 cups spinach
2 garlic gloves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Voila!
Serve it with your favorite pasta.
So be honest, how many of you think I've gone off the deep end? 

"They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa,To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be
happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats......."


Shel said...

Nah, you're in no deeper than the rest of us, Deb!

Mason Canyon said...

You must be careful that it's not to a farm to pick garlic mustard leaves all day. :)

I'll have to look at this close. I'm sure we've got it in Georgia too.

Thoughts in Progress

Valerie Consoer said...

It's funny you should mention this. There was an article in our town paper just last week about this nasty little thing that kills a certain something in the local state park. I honestly can't remember what it was that they said it was killing. I'm too young to be forgetful. Anywho... I love pesto sauce. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't. Send some my way!

Rural View said...

So that's what that stuff is! Learn something every day.

signlady217 said...

My mom has that song on a 45 record! I should try to see if it's available on CD because it is hilarious! We grew up with it and it has become one of the family inside jokes!

Sarah said...

Good luck battling the garlic mustard!


Lover of Books said...

I have never heard of it. Good luck! :)

Heather Webber said...

I just learned about garlic mustard about a month ago--someone had it growing rampant in their backyard and was having the worst time getting rid of it. I wonder if she likes pesto...

We'll miss you at Malice, Deb!

Deb Baker said...

I love that song, too!
And my pesto is yummy.
This is only the beginning of my campaign to make garlic mustard a culinary delicacy. Wish me luck.

Vicki said...

I've never heard of garlic mustard either. I don't know if we have any growing wild around here...I would like to start making pesto tho...just got to get a food processor!

Bettyann said...

The straight jackets are pesto..good luck!!

Lindy said...

I live at the Funny Farm. My husband has to plant every kind of plant he wants to see what it's like. It lands on my counter in the kitchen. I can't tell him about the garlic mustard--he'll go out and find it and then plant it in our yard. Oh no! Oh no! I'm waiting for the nice young men in the clean white coats.

Jan said...

Sounds yummy!