Garlic Mustard: The ubiquitous and — apparently — tasty invasive

garlicwinterThe last look at invasives, this time garlic mustard, whose basal rosettes of leaves were everywhere at Frances Slocum park yesterday.  This is a blight to the eyes as far as I’m concerned, but apparently it is a hot number in some culinary circles: One example.

Make a Pesto

There is even a cookbook called:
“Garlic Mustard, from Pest to Pesto”
This is far and away the most common use. I don’t have a specific recipe, but it’s pretty straightforward: blanched garlic mustard leaves, olive oil and cheese in a food processor. Ingredients like pinenuts or even hazelnuts can be added, but they are optional. Since garlic mustard is so pungent, I like a strong cheese such as asiago or even swiss. The internet is full of garlic mustard pesto recipes, in fact, it’s full of pesto recipes for any wild green: stinging nettles, dandelion greens, etc. The moral of the story is that, no matter how hesitant we are with a new vegetable, we know it will taste good once we mix in olive oil and cheese.
My more prosaic take on the little green monster:



This plant stinks in more than one way. Sure, it stinks when you crush its leaves.

But it also stinks because of its unique two-year lifecycle, which gives it a leg up over native plants.

Seedlings germinate in the spring and form into basal rosettes (pictured) by midsummer. Immature plants will overwinter as rosettes that stay green and continue to photosynthesize during periods when temperatures are above freezing — giving them a head start over native plants.

Along with that, it’s “allelopathic”: It releases chemicals that suppress native plants, especially spring wildflowers. It also inhibits the growth of fungi important to many native plants that use the fungi to obtain nourishment from the soil.

It was introduced to America by European settlers in the early 1800s as a food because of its availability in early spring and its high Vitamin A and C.

Controlling it? Get ready for a war, not a single battle. According to Michigan State University’s Extension Service, “Any control method selected must be repeated for several years until residual seed from previous year’s plants has germinated

Author: luzerne2112

As I get older -- and I'm 70 now -- I seem to find more and more that nature is the true source of peace, inspiration and, most of all, the truth the passeth understanding. Though my knowledge is sketchy and superficial, I wanted to share it while I can.

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