Other Names: Ambrosia or farinello aromatico (Italian); ambroisie du Mexique or thé du Mexique (French); erva-de-santa-maria or erva-formigueira (Portuguese); hedge mustard; hierba (or yerba) de Santa Maria (Spanish); Jerusalem parsley; Jesuit’s tea; mastruço or mentruz (Brazilian Portuguese); Mexican tea; paico (Peruvian); skunk-weed; Spanish tea; sweet pigweed; West Indian goosefoot; wormseed.

General Description: Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides), a strong-tasting resinous herb in the Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot) family, has large, matte, spiky, dark green leaves and a turpentine-like smell. Epazote is native to Mexico and the tropical regions of Central and South America, where it is commonly found wild. It is also widely naturalized throughout the world and the United States, especially California. In Mexican cooking, epazote is always added to the pot when cooking black beans for its natural carminative (gas-preventing) properties and because its potent aroma cuts the heaviness of beans. It is unsurpassed in quesadillas and wild mushroom dishes and also appears with corn, chile sauces, and stews.

Purchase and Avoid: Epazote is available fresh in supermarkets in Texas and other parts of the southwestern United States, but it’s more often found dried in Mexican markets.

Storage: Epazote dries easily and will keep quite well. Dry in a low (200 ̊F) oven for several hours, or until brittle, then store in a glass jar or tin in a cool, dark place.

Serving Suggestions: Add epazote to quesadilla or tamale fillings. Add epazote to black bean salad and black bean soup.

Food Affinities: Beef, black beans, corn, cumin, garlic, hot chiles, onion, pinto beans, pork, wild game, wild mushrooms

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