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Greetings from Susun:

Green greetings.

The middle of “sweete Aprile” already! Garlic mustard (Allaria off.) is rampant in my gardens. How about in yours? The gardener’s best revenge is to bite back, so let’s cut the mustard, the garlic mustard, that is.

But only figuratively, cut it, that is. In fact, you might as well leave your scissors or knife in the house. We aren’t going to cut the garlic mustard so much as pull it out, roots and all. Garlic mustard acts as a biennial in my region: plants overwinter and flower in their second year. The first year plants are thickly underfoot and will be ready for salads soon.

It's the second years plants we’re after. To me, the optimum time to harvest is just before the garlic mustard sends up its flowering stalk, [photo 3] before the greens get too bitter. But the flowering stalks have emerged so quickly this year we have been forced to eat them, too. They are actually very yummy, succulent and delicious, bitter like broccoli rabe, which it resembles when in bud.

Since I am pulling the plant up by the roots, I am killing it. I communicate silently to the plant, telling each one that I acknowledge that I am giving death to them. I don’t ask permission, but I don’t assume I have the right to take. I am clear about my intention and I invite the plants to be part of what I am doing. I put the garlic mustard plants, roots down, in a large bowl of cold water as I harvest to keep them from wilting and to soak the dirt off the roots. (Do shake off excess soil and leave it in your garden.)

Two dozen large plants is a good amount to start with. Don’t harvest more than you can process.

In the kitchen, I use sturdy scissors to cut the leaves off the roots, leaving most of the leaf stalks (the petioles) on the roots. I toss them into a large bowl of cold water where they can soak for up to two hours with no harm. Keep those roots! We will use them to make vinegar or Wild Horseradish Condiment next week.

Remove garlic mustard leaves from their cold water bath and put them in a colander. Notice that there is dirt in the bottom of the bowl of water. Rinse the bowl out and fill it again with cold water. Put the garlic mustard in the water and swish it around. Pick it over and remove “foreign matter” that you don’t wish to eat. Then put it back in the colander. Is the water in the bowl is clear? You are ready for the next step. If there is still dirt is at the bottom, rinse the bowl and repeat swishing and picking until the water is clear, then proceed with recipe.

This cooked green keeps refrigerated for 5-8 days.

Green blessings,


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Susun Weed is the voice of the Wise Woman Tradition, where healing comes from nourishment. She is known internationally as an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. Ms. Weed restores herbs as common medicine, and empowers us all to care for ourselves. For free ezine, on demand radio, recipes, resources, online courses and much more, go to:

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