Can’t Beat’em, Eat’em: Garlic Mustard
This morning, after the soaking rain overnight, I’ll don the heavy-duty rubber gardening gloves and work in vain on the bank of the branch just out the back door and beside the big lilac bush to clear away the garlic mustard, a European invasive, Allaria petiolata, an over-wintering biennial first introduced in North America as a potherb in colonial times.
I pulled off lots of tops last year, not realizing the plant has a defense against that: a deep taproot from which this year’s plants have returned almost one for one from the places they grew last year. As if their garlic smell was not enough deterrent against potential insect and vertebrate predators and their incredible seed production did not insure the spread of this increasingly ubiquitous invasive that tolerates both sun and shade equally well.
This IS a mustard, after all, family Brassicaceae (or the old terminology I learned, Cruciferae) so is in good company along with cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and watercress, among others.
It seems the degree of bitterness of the leaves from late fall to early spring varies according to the genetics of taste. The pesto kept in the refrigerator for a few days is said to lose a bit of its edginess, if that bothers you. Oh, the flowers are edible, too.
Watch the video, be sure you recognize it, then weed it. Or eat it. Bon appetit!