Harvesting Epazote - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, OR
Question by rider1025
June 30, 1998
I have started some herb epazote....when is it ready to harvest...what does it look and taste like when ready??


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 1998

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Epazote is 'chenopodium ambrasioides', an annual herb that self sows - very readily I might add, so place it somewhere where you can control it's spread. It grows 24" - 48" high, in full sunshine, and the leaves are used in Mexican cooking and for Mexican tea. As I mention, the leaves are simply plucked from the plant as it grows, pluck them right at the leaf/stem joint. Another will grow in it's place. Wait until the epazote has put out a good bit of foliage before you start harvesting, and don't take more than 1/3 of the foliage at a time. What does epazote taste like? Well, it is definitely an acquired taste, in my opinion (and just about every other person I've known who has tasted it) the taste is reminiscent of the smell of burning tires. You do get used to the taste though, (eventually) and epazote's main benefit is when added to beans and other Mexican dishes, it reduces flatulence.

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