My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

< Return to Gallery

page title

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis)

"Any idea what this plant is? Almost impossible to not get it right once you smell the root."

Answer: Garlic Mustard

Facts as borrowed from Wildman Steve Brill:

Garlic mustard, also called Jack-by-the-hedge and sauce-alone, defends itself from insects by smelling like garlic, which insects don't like. Of course, if a swarm of Italian insects finds it, the plant soon becomes extinct.

This erect European herb of open woodlands and disturbed soil has dark green, heart-shaped, scallop-edged, deeply veined, long-stalked basal leaves that grow up to 5" across.

The stalked stem leaves are smaller and more triangular. The garlic odor is apparent when you crush a leaf.

Look for the basal rosettes from fall to early spring. The leaves survive the winter, and you can even find them under the snow.

The leaves contain natural anti-freezes that lower the freezing point of water. Caution: Never put garlic mustard leaves into a car radiator. It's not that kind of anti-freeze.

Many plants become more bitter as they mature. But garlic mustardís arrowhead-shaped stem leaves are more pungent and less bitter in the spring, than the basal leaves were in the cold. They even carry overtones of sweetness. Theyíre easy to strip off, so you can collect bagfuls in short order, along with the terminal clusters of tiny, four-petaled, tasty, white flowers.

Garlic mustard is great raw in salads, mixed with more mild greens. It's also good steamed, simmered, or sautČed. In Europe, they use it in sauces. Cook no longer than five minutes, or the leaves will become mushy.

Sometimes you'll find garlic mustard with exceptionally large leaves. These may have large, whitish, fleshy taproots, which taste like horseradish. They're good from late fall to early spring, before the flower stalks appear. Use them like horseradish, grated into vinegar, as a condiment. I love chopping these roots into thin slices, and handing them out to children during classroom visits. Overwhelmed by the pungency, chaos reigns as the kids rush to the water fountain. Then they all want seconds.

< Return to Gallery

Home

August 2012:
Hurricane Season Prediction for 2012

April 2012:
How much water is enough?

October 2011:
New ion Flashlight Firestarter

October 2011:
Mushroom Walk & Cooking Experiment

September 2011:
More Favorite Plants on Facebook

July 2011:
Facebook Giveaway: Photo Contest

June 2011:
Facebook Giveaway: Your Survival Kit

March 2011:
Facebook Knot Tying Contest & Giveaway

February 2011:
Kevin Estella Survival Primer Slideslow

February 2011:
Camping Survival YouTube Video Blogs

January 2011:
Edible Plants on Facebook Part II

January 2011:
Kevin Estela Product Demonstrations II

August 2010:
Edible Plants on Facebook

June 2010:
Kevin Estela Product Demonstrations

May 2010:
Scout Challenge - Troop 35 Columbia, PA

May 2010:
Scout Challenge - Pack 201 Killeen Texas

May 2010:
Scout Challenge - Troop 179 Kansas City

March 2010:
Facebook Fans Favorite Survival Tools

February 2009:
Five great survival skill presentations

January 2009:
Winter Camping

August 2008:
MRE, Meals Ready To Eat Dissection

July 2008:
Wild edible plant school III

Spring 2008:
Some Recent Backpacking Trips

May 2008:
Aurora Magnesium Fire Starter Video

March 2008:
Hybrid Solar Oven Cooker Demo

January 2008:
Winter Survival Camping

September 2007:
Family Camping Survival Skills

July 2007:
Edible Plant Survival Project

April 2007:
Survival Skills for Kids

February 2007:
Winter Camping Trip

August 2006:
Edible Plant Survival

July 2007:
Survival Presentation to the Kids

July 2005:
Wilderness Survival Skills School

Camping Survival News

Check out these sites: