[gardeners] epazote

Tom Clothier (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 13 Jan 1998 15:34:23 -0600

From: Marianne Lepa <mlepa@adan.kingston.net>

>And speaking of herbs.........Anybody here growing Epazote? It's supposed
>to be good in Mexican cooking and with bean dishes. I'm planning on trying
>it out this year, any culture or cooking tips would be welcome.

I like the taste - sort of a cross between lime and oregano.  While
fresh use just the tender leaves.  Later, You can dry it in the herb
dryer, stripping off just the micro sized
flower beads, then use it in any cooked dish all winter.

It is invasive for me unless cut down prior to winter.  If not, hundreds
of babies germinate the following spring around the base of each
former plant, however, they are easily pulled.  In later years, you will
continue to find seedlings or plants in odd places on your property
as a result of seeds not fully killed in composting.

The plants grow about 20" tall, and spread about 14" in total width
as I remember.  Chenopodium ambrosioides is also known as
Mexican Tea in some quarters.

Many people report difficulty in germination, but given their self-
sowing capabilities, I would suggest that you simply throw the
seeds onto the ground - today.  Since they are an annual, a good
method of control, from my point of view, would be to sow them in
a 14" or 16" pot located on a patio or parking lot.

I don't cultivate them anymore, but still find one once in a while to
give visitors a taste.

One of the restaurants I used to grow for had a Mexican chef.  I
asked him what other chefs used as a substitute, since epazote
is not available on the wholesale produce list in the Chicago area,
and he replied "bay leaves".

zone 5a, NE Illinois, -21F Min