i found myself wondering if i was running out of new things to write about for seasonal eats, but my guy at the highland park farmer’s market came through with yet another green i haven’t tried: epazote. i’ve heard of it forever, but never really encountered it for purchase before. i asked him about it, and he listed off many favorite mexican dishes its commonly used in, so i thought it’s time to try it out.
epazote has a pungency that almost seems un-food-like, with a petroleum-ish aroma not unlike tea tree, and an antiseptic oil released upon chewing that seems to bloom in the mouth—a similar feeling to chewing mint leaves, but a different flavor. i’m definitely going to try it in food, but since i’m no expert in traditional mexican cooking, the herb’s medicinal properties caught my attention first [i’m going back to highland park to have it served up by the pros]. here’s a tea of 3 digestive aids that will sooth your system after a meal or anytime you like.
mint: aside from the delicious flavor that goes well with epazote, mint’s essential oil is menthol, which stimulates the flow of bile to the stomach promoting digestion. menthol is also an antispasmodic, calming the muscle action in the digestive system.
ginger: soothes indigestion and acts as a carminative. it’s a mild stimulant, promoting circulation and motility in the gastro-intestinal tract. the volatile oils found in ginger also have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial properties, and testing suggests that gingerol may kill some cancer cells. ginger has also been found to treat nausea associated with pregnancy, motion sickness and chemotherapy.
epazote, mint & ginger tea
1 5″ sprig of fresh epazote
2 5″ sprigs of peppermint
1 long piece of ginger root, .5″ wide cut into matchsticks for maximum surface area
20 oz boiling water
take the epazote and mint sprigs and twist them between 2 fists to help release essential oils. place the sprigs and ginger sticks in a large glass and pour boiling water over. let steep 5 minutes and either sweeten to your preference or take it straight. optional: flavor with lemon juice.