Two years ago, while striding up through the woods to the top of our land, my eye fell on some delicate white-petaled flowers growing in the shelter of our biggest oak.  I hadn’t noticed them before so I leaned over and looked closer.  Then I swore.

Garlic mustard! The first I’d seen on our land.  This is the curse of the living dead.  This nasty invasive can quickly create a monoculture that crowds out every other plant on the forest floor.  No more trillium.  No more shooting stars.  No more wild geranium.  The list goes on.

These little monsters are one of the few plants that can survive without the help of the mychorhizea fungi network in the ground the supports most plants.  So to assure their success, they exude a compound that kills the fungi creating what is essentially a dead zone in which the native plants can no longer survive.

That fall I read an article stating that garlic mustard could be used as a basil substitute in pesto.  I cut a bag full, brought it home and wasted some perfectly good pine nuts and parmesan on an inedible green goo.

The mature plants taste terrible!

But tender, young ones are a different story.

Last year whenever I passed the oak, I stopped and pulled out and devoured the little seedlings on the spot with great relish.  At this age, they are peppery like cress, with just a suggestion of garlic.

This spring the patch was back, and it has expanded an ominous couple of feet.  Time to get serious!  Last Thursday just after a rain when the ground was soft I spent over an hour on my hands and knees carefully teasing out every single plant I could see and collected them, roots and all.  They filled a grocery type bag to the top.

I decided to see how many of them we could eat over the weekend.  All three meals were very tasty and couldn’t be any more local.

1.  Garlic Mustard Salad

I mixed 2 parts garlic mustard with 1 part locally grown hoop-house spinach, then added some Hooks Blue Paradise cheese, and a handful of pine nuts.  I also micro waved 4 medium Butter Mountain potatoes, cubed them and tossed them in hot.

My dressing recipe:

  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 dollop humus
  • 1 dollop cranberry mustard

2. Garlic Mustard Frittata

Sautée a panful of your favorite root veggies then toss in a bunch of garlic mustard.   Beat a couple of eggs and stir them in.  Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese. Pop it in the broiler till the cheese bubbles.

3. Roasted Veggies with Yeasty Gravy

The third meal was roasted veggies drowned in yeasty gravy, substituting garlic mustard for the parsley in the recipe.  This is fabulous gravy, and the garlic mustard worked very well.  Roast or micro wave your favorite root vegetables, then top with gravy.

Wheatland Yeasty Gravy

  • ¼ c canola or olive oil
  • ½ c chopped onions
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • ½ c nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 c tamari sauce
  • 2 c milk
  • 1+ cup water
  • ¼ c parsley, fresh

Heat oil; add onions and cook until tender.  Stir in flour and garlic; stir 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in milk heated in microwave.  Add yeast and tamari and as much water as needed to get creamy consistency.

Blend it smooth and serve.

This is a crop that I hope I won’t be able to get three meals out of next year, but I’ll eat it if I have to.

Please hop in with any way you have found to turn garlic mustard in to good munching.

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