Epazote

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides), known by the much easier names of Mexican tea, Jesuit’s tea, and wormseed, is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Epazote is an easily grown, shrubby, annual plant whose name means, “smelly animal” - literally ‘skunk sweat’ in Aztec. Doesn’t that make you want to try it! Pungent and slightly bitter with hints of lemon, its popularity in Mexican culture is due to its ability to lessen the digestive effects of beans.

It has been said that Mexican cooking maven Diana Kennedy claimed it grew wild in the Northeast, then later recanted having possibly misidentified ‘goose weed’ as epazote. There is still some controversy surrounding this, and the caliber of non-native grown plants. Look for it fresh in Hispanic markets. Seed is often available online, and we have even heard of, though not tried a frozen form. As with many herbs the dried form is considered inferior, if not useless.

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