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Epazote: the Mexican Herb


You'll find the Mexican herb epazote is an essential part of many recipes

Epazote (epp-uh-ZOH-teh) is a distinctly Mexican and Caribbean herb that is quite often listed in recipes. While you may consider the aroma and taste not quite to your liking, it acts as an anti-gas agent (known as a "carminative") in bean recipes. Epazote is also included in many other recipes including sauces, cheese, shellfish, and egg dishes.

It's also known as wormseed and pigweed and the leaves are referred to as Mexican tea. While it is found growing wild in many parts of the U.S., it is also considered a nuisance. Should you decide to grow it for your own use, be sure to plant in a container or you'll find it making an attempt to become a major part of your garden.

This herb is sold at Mexican markets and can also be found at on-line retailers. It should be noted that for many cooks, it does not have to be an essential ingredient in Mexican dishes. Just omit it and replace with any savory herb, although none will taste like or perform quite the same.

Fresh epazote will keep for a few days if kept in plastic and in the fridge; wrap in moistened paper towels first. The leaves can be dried and kept in an airtight container as well.

When you're ready to give epazote a try, use only small quantities. Larger amounts are known to be toxic. Its Latin name is Chenopodium ambrosiodes.

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