Epazote is a herb commonly known as wormseed Mexican tea, Jesuit’s tea or Herba Sancti Mariae.. It is made use of as a vegetable or herb as it has a pungent odor like that of kerosene or gasoline. It has a strong fragrance as that of citrus, savory, mint, petroleum and camphor. If it is unavailable, its substitutes can be used although they don’t have the same properties. Parsley, ajwain seeds, Mexican oregano and cumin can be used as substitutes in recipes using this ingredient. High doses of the herb can be fatal, hence only a pinch or two should be put in dishes.
Origin of Mexican Tea and its Culinary Uses
The herb natively originated in Central America, Southern Mexico and South America. It grows in temperate and subtropical type climate areas of the United States and Europe.
Epazote is traditionally used along with black beans which impart carminative values to it. This combination wards off the side effects of consuming beans. Beans lead to gastric problems, so addition of this ingredient helps release the gas produced. They are mainly used in Mexican and Caribbean cuisines to flavor the dishes such as quesadillas, soups, and tamale with cheese, chilaquiles, eggs, potatoes and many more. The herb is best integrated in corn and bean salad with tortilla and moles. The herbs are either boiled with the food being cooked or they are cooked with the food material over flame. Another way, in which Epazote can be consumed, is in raw form as a garnish or seasoning. To gain best flavors from the salad in which it is used the prepared salad should be stored for a day in refrigerator and then before serving it should be brought down to room temperature.
Buying, Storing and Non Food Uses as per Epazote Recipes
This herb can be purchased from any Mexican grocery which may be available fresh or air-dried. To preserve the leaves, fresh leaves should be wrapped in damp plastic bag and can be stored in refrigerator for over a week. The air-dried leaves can also be stored in air tight containers preventing contamination.
Non Food Uses
Epazote has certain pharmaceutical properties as well like it prevents flatulence which is caused by consumption of beans. Hence, they are added as seasoning in them to impart its carminative properties. They also help in curing diseases such as malaria, amenorrhea, hysteria, asthma and many more. This plant is the source of chenopodium oil which has anti helminthic, abortifacient and anti spasmodic properties. The extract of this herb is one of the main constituents of Requiem pesticide and are made use by farmers as an efficient pesticide.
Nutritional Facts Related to Epazote Recipes
It is highly nutritional with lots of essential minerals and vitamins. It has carminative properties which help in reducing gas. It can also expel intestinal worms and can help in treatment of nervous disorders, menstruation problems and asthma. Care should be taken that a high dose of the herb is not taken as it can be poisonous. Epazote has anti helminthic significance.