Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 13, 2017 21:05:24 GMT -5
How many of you grow epazote, or look for it in the weed patches, to use in your Mexican dishes? In spring of 2016 I got some seeds from Trade Winds Fruit for Oaxaca Red Epazote. www.tradewindsfruit.com/chenopodium-ambrosioides-oaxaca-red-epazote-seeds I first grew this in hydroponics, and it went crazy, growing into the lighting fixtures in no time, and I had to keep trimming it way back. I rooted some cuttings and put them in my mint patch, and it did OK, but eventually went to seed - maybe too late in the season or something.
This year I thought about it again when I was thinking of something to replace my lettuce with in the junior Earthbox I had on my deck. Mind you, this was not that long ago - around the end of June to beginning of July. The seeds are minute, so they don't germinate or grow that fast at first, but check out the size of this thing, in just about a month. The largest plant is about 20" tall. The plant on its side on the right is a lettuce plant (one that grew huge, and bolted absolute last), that I'm waiting to harvest seeds from! DSCF0297 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
And to give an idea of the size of the plants, here is one of the larger leaves over my hand. A regular epazote leaf is around 3" by about 1/2-3/4" wide at the largest, and most much smaller. DSCF0299 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
And the taste and aroma is definitely epazote! It's one of those weird smelling things, like cilantro, rau ram, or curry leaves, that doesn't really taste good on its own, but once you've had it in a dish, it's not the same without!
This is one of those herbs that stores well by salt layering, so I might do that, rather than growing it indoors, due to it running rampant in there!
I'll have to check my Rick Bayless CBs for some recipes that I've marked using this.
I've grown the regular epazote that's available around here for a couple of seasons.
I totally agree its one of those things that really doesn't smell that good but just complements a dish so well. Not sure why I dont have any growing at the moment but I do have some seed so will rectify soon.
That one you have looks really interesting, never heard of anything other than just plain old epazote
Inland Southern California USDA zone 9b, Sunset zone 19
Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 14, 2017 20:02:40 GMT -5
I had never heard of it either, davidjp. Every once in a while Tradewindsfruit will send an email, giving a list of new seeds they have, and I always check out the herbs and chiles, and that's how I found it.
I used to have epazote growing as a weed all over here, but a few years ago, when we had that severe winter, with a few sub-zero temps, it disappeared! The seeds must have been cold sensitive. I had gotten some seeds for regular, to try to get it to take hold, and re-seed itself, but it didn't seem to be working. This didn't seem to re-seed itsellf last year, when I planted some in my mint patch, but then, mint chokes out just about anything.
Post by pepperhead212 on Aug 17, 2017 18:24:44 GMT -5
Yes, Mumsey, it is available as a dried herb, but don't buy it. While it is recognizable as the same herb, from the aroma, like many herbs, it is nothing like the fresh. The Mexicans use it dried as a medicinal herb, and the first time I found it, the packet was on a rack with a bunch of unknown (to me) herhs, seeds, and powders, which I later found out was the medicinal items, while the food spice rack didn't have it. I bought a pack, to use the seeds from it (before I could find epazote seeds in any catalog!).
Post by pepperhead212 on Oct 1, 2017 20:42:51 GMT -5
Today I harvested the last of the epazote, mainly to use the Junior Earthbox it was in for lettuce. I also harvested a bunch of the seeds, if anyone wants to grow it next season. You can see how small the seeds are: DSCF0380 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
And here's a photo of the lettuce, with the cut stems of the epazote, which were about 1/2" in diameter - definitely much larger than the green variety: DSCF0378 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
I got about 6 c of loosely packed leaves, then salt-layered them, and it reduced to under 1 c, including about 1/4 c salt! DSCF0379 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
Epazote grows wild around here, especially in disturbed areas near the salt marshes near the ocean. I've had it come up in the yard for years, but not recently. Ours is a rank weed which is very pungent, and I'm not fond of it in dishes. Perhaps the wild stuff is stronger than any cultivars. Or maybe ours just needs a wee bit of TLC - more than it normally would get. That red one is pretty.
I couldn't remember if this is a Californian native or introduction and found this. There is more at the link if you are interested in such things.
"Chenopodium ambrosioides is a plant that is originally native to Mexico and the tropics of Central and South America. However, now this plant can be found worldwide in the oddest of places due to the introduction by people to many different areas of the world. The survival of this plant in different locations is also possible due to the fact that it is extremely ecologically tolerant, meaning this plant can endure a wide range of climatic conditions and still grow and prosper. See Adaptations for more information on how this is possible."
Coastal Southern California, zone 10, avocado belt, still in a drought.