Garlic Mustard: A Wild Food Gem

Why You Should Forage

and Eat Garlic Mustard…

Alliaria petiolata


Garlic mustard is a biennial member of the mustard family and is considered an invasive weed, but a tasty one. As its name indicates, it has a garlicky flavor. It has low growing, kidney-shaped leaves that appear in early spring. But, by mid-spring, a taller flower stalk shoots up and bears white flowers.

This history of this plant is interesting as it is a native to Europe and Africa. It was brought to the New World in 1868 and was planted in New York. Since that time it has spread across America and is considered very invasive. This plant will overtake an area if not controlled so harvesting it helps. As with all wild foods, start out eating it slowly and do not overdo it if you are not used eating this way.

Garlic mustard is high in vitamins A,C, and E. It is rich in many trace minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and  manganese.


Parts Used: Young tender leaves, stalks and roots.

Leaves: Pick the tender young leaves in early spring and use mixed in salads, made into pesto, added to soups, sautéed, simmered or in sauces.

Flowering Shoot:  Pick the shoots when the flower bud is still unopened and still in a cluster.  The stalk is mild, juicy and thicker at this stage and can be eaten raw or cooked.  Added to other foods, Garlic mustard makes an excellent seasoning.

Flowers: These may be picked and added to salads or used as a garnish.

Roots: In the fall, roots may be dug, cleaned and used like Horseradish.

TIPS: Blanch and freeze for off-season use. The leaves may also be dried for winter use in soups and stews.


Garlic Mustard Pesto Recipe

Garlic Mustard Pesto (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 4 cups garlic mustard greens
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pulse the garlic mustard greens in a food processor with the walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Then, with the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the spout.

Serve on meat, fish, pasta, or bread. Add to a sandwich for a little extra kick. Anything!




Lovage Soup Recipe


Cook with lovage for more quercetin.

Lovage is one of those garden herbs that are bold and strong growing. It looks like a huge Italian parsley plant and has flavors that also mimic parsley or celery. It survives the cold Minnesota winters and comes back each year with force.

This garden herb is one of the richest sources of quercetin.

Quercetin is a natural occurring substance that is found in plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their colors. It is known to inhibit the release of histamine which is said to be responsible for the symptoms of allergies in addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


Fresh Lovage

Fresh Lovage

Here is a fabulous lovage soup recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped or wild leeks
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup lovage leaves, chopped
  • heavy cream (to serve)


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions. Fry until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Pour in chicken stock and stir in chopped potatoes. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in lovage and simmer, covered, a further five or six minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  5. Season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Stir in a spoonful of heavy cream and serve.


Cauliflower with Sweet Cicely & Star Anise

fermented anise cauliflowerFermented vegetables are loaded with good bacteria that we need to stay healthy. The cultured vegetables contain live enzymes and also enhance the nutrients. One little bite contains millions, maybe even billions of probiotics.

This recipe is a simple and delicious way to incorporate wild edibles into your cultivated fermented vegetables. If you like licorice, you will love this combination. Sweet Cicely is a perennial pant that grows in the woods and thickets. To add to the licorice flavor, Star Anise is used. This lovely herb is both beautiful and medicinal. This recipe calls for using cauliflower, but you can use any vegetable such as carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc.

Ingredients (makes one quart)
  • ½ head cauliflower, cut or broken is bite size pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • ¼ cup onion, cut in chunks
  • Star Anise, 1-2
  • Sweet Cicely leaves, stems or root
  • ¼ whey from organic yogurt (optional) or cultured vegetable starter (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Celtic sea salt
  • Filtered water
  1. Place the garlic and onion in the bottom of the jar.
  2. Add cauliflower, star anise, and sweet cicely to quart jar, placing so they have a nice appearance. Leave a one-inch empty space at the top of the jar.
  3. Add salt and whey.
  4. Add filtered water to jar, leaving one inch from top.
  5. Cover tightly and let sit on counter at room temperature for about one week, or until fermented.
  6. Store jar in refrigerator or root cellar. This is best if eaten within 3 to 4 months.

About the “Medicinal” Herbs Used in this Recipe…

Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza longistylis):

The leaves, roots, and green seed pods are a traditional remedy for digestive ailments including indigestion, gas and other stomach ailments.  This herb is also known to stimulate appetite. In addition it has been used as an expectorant, to help cough up phlegm and for stuck mucus.

Star Anise (Illicium verum):star anise

Star Anise has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant qualities. Besides being known for its culinary purposes, this herb is used in Chinese Medicine. It also is said to boosts the immune systems. Herbalist Matthew Wood says it is a useful remedy for support the healing of sinus infections.

DIY Anti-Fungal Salve

salveThis recipe is a nice one to use for a variety of skin problems. Not only do the herbs in it contain anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, but some also support and promote cell regeneration for fast healing.

How to Make Anti-Fungal Herbal Salve

  • 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Echinacea root
  • 1 tablespoon Calendula flowers
  • 2 tablespoons Comfrey leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Plantain leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Yarrow flowers and leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Rosemary leaf
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 30 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • Vitamin E oil to preserve (optional)
  1. Infuse the herbs into the olive oil. There are two methods for this procedure. You can either combine the herbs and the olive oil in a jar with an airtight lid and leave for 4 weeks, shaking the jar every day. The other method is quicker. Simply heat the herbs and olive oil over a very low heat in a double boiler for about 3 hours until the oil is completely infused with the herbs. It will change color to take on a stronger green.
  2. Strain the herbs out of the oil by pouring the mixture through cheesecloth. Let all the oil drip out and then tightly squeeze the herbs to get the remaining oil separated from the plant material.
  3. Discard the herbs and save the infused oil.
  4. Melt the beeswax in a pan with low heat. After the beeswax is completely melted, add in the infused oil and gentle heat just until the wax and oil combine.                                      If desired, add vitamin E.
  5. Add the Grapefruit essential oil to the warmed oil and beeswax.
  6. Pour into small glass jars, let cool and cover. Label salve. Use topically on wounds, diaper rash, or other skin issues.

Note: To keep the salve fresh longer, store in refrigerator and it will keep up to one year. If not refrigerated, the salve should be used within 6 months.

Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe


Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Lavender:    Four Helpful Herbs


This is a very simple recipe that will help your body to fight off cold and flu. Take it by the spoonful or use it as a base for salad dressings.


  • 2 cloves garlicgarlic-618400_1920
  • ¼ c. Rosemary leaves
  • ¼ c. Lavender Flowers
  • ¼ c. Sage leaves
  • ¼ c. Thyme Leaves
  • Raw apple cider vinegar


Place herbs in a pint jar and fill to the top with gently warmed apple cider vinegar. Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Let jar sit for 4 weeks in a sunny location to infuse. Strain off herbs and keep in a glass bottle. Keeps up to one year. Take 1-2 tablespoons daily to ward off sickness.

The Power of Purslane




Potulaca oleracea

If you are looking for a power packed food that is absolutely free for the taking, just take a look in your backyard. Purslane may be just the answer for you. This plant tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Did you know that Purslane provides six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots and 15 times more ALA than iceberg lettuce? So what are you waiting for, go find some Purslane and start eating it!

About Purslane:

Considered by most to be a pesky weed, this succulent herb contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant.  Purslane is a creeping, sun-loving plant that has paddle-shaped leaves with reddish stems. The flowers are tiny and pale yellow with 5 petals.

Parts Used:

Stems, leaves and seeds.

Stems and Leaves:

Purslane is an incredible source of protein, vitamin E, vitamin C, and the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids of any leafy plant.  Its flavor is a mix of cucumber and okra.  Its texture is crunchy on the outside, but has a strong mucilaginous effect inside rather like flax seeds. The thick jade-like leaves and pink stems look pretty in any dish. An easy way to add it to your diet is to just toss a few raw, washed leaves into your salad. It can also be stir-fried, or added to soups, stews and sauces. Additionally, the tender fat stems may be pickled in apple cider vinegar with garlic and peppercorns. Check out this easy salad recipe.

The tiny black seeds are about the size of grains of salt. If you look very carefully, you may be able to find them pouring out of tiny seed heads. Purslane seeds may be used in place of poppy seeds, added to cereals, ground into flour and used with whole grain flours.



Purslane sometimes may have a tangy taste, especially when the weather has been dry; it contains malic acid, the component that makes apples sour. It forms the acid overnight and metabolizes it throughout the day, so plants picked in the morning are tangy, while by late afternoon they are bland.


Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.


Simple Purslane Salad

  • 2 cups purslane, coarsely chopped Purslane Summer Salad
  • 2 organic Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup organic cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt

1. Add purslane, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions together. Mix gently.

2. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar together. Briskly whisk until emulsified. Add salt and pepper, continue to whisk. Serve chilled.

Basic Bone Broth


  • 2 pounds (or more) of bones from grass fed meat
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • several cloves of garlic
  • Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, additional herbs or spices to taste, for the last 30 minutes of cooking.


  1. Place bones in a large stock pot, add apple cider vinegar and water, and let the mixture sit for 1 hour so the vinegar can leach the minerals out of the bones.
  2. Add more water if needed to cover the bones.
  3. Add the vegetables bring to a boil and skim the scum from the top and discard.
  4. Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 24-72 hours.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, throw in a handful of fresh parsley (and additional herbs) for added flavor and minerals.
  6. Let the broth cool and strain it, making sure all marrow is knocked out of the marrow bones and into the broth.
  7. Add sea salt to taste and drink the broth as is or store in fridge up to 5 to 7 days or freezer up to 6 months for use in soups or stews.

Special Notes:

This recipe is suitable for fish, chicken, beef, bison or lamb bones.

If you are using raw bones, especially beef or lamb bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first.  You may place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350.

  • Beef, Bison, Lamb broth/stock: 48-72 hours
  • Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24-36 hours
  • Fish broth: 8 hours



Traditional Chicken Bone Broth



  • 1 whole chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings. Gizzards and Chicken Feet (the feet are full of gelatin & very good for you).
  • water to cover
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • one 8-inch strip of kombu (long dark seaweed) (or sea salt)
  • several black pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  •  celery stalks, coarsely chopped with leaves
  • 10 slices astragulus root, or a handful of shredded
  • handful of calendula blossoms, dried
  • 1 bunch parsley


  1. Place chicken or pieces into a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock the richer and more flavorful it will be.
  3. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This brings more minerals to the stock.  Broths provide nutrients for connective tissue and are especially available to the body. It is great to have some in the freezer so it can be used whenever you need it.

Elderberry Syrup

This special preparation can be taken in frequent doses when you are coming down with a cold or flu or are already sick. Take 1-2 tablespoons every 30 minutes. If you are taking this as a preventative, take 1 teaspoon daily.

Because the syrup is a food-like herb, you can take it in higher dosages.The ginger, cloves and cinnamon not only contribute to the flavor, but also add warming, invigorating, stimulating and diaphoretic properties to the syrup.


  • 1 cup fresh Elderberries (1/2 c. dried)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/8 tsp. powdered cloves or a few whole cloves
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 inch fresh chopped ginger rootelderberry2

Mash berries with water and spices. Simmer until reduced to desired concentrations.  Remember, the longer the syrup is simmered, the more thick and concentrated it will be. Strain. Return liquid to the cooking pot. Stir in 1 cup raw honey. The honey is added at the end so the enzymes are not destroyed. For children under 1 year of age, maple syrup can be substituted for the honey.

Add optional Brandy or Vodka if desired. Alcohol is optional but will greatly increase the shelf life of your syrup. For this recipe use 1 cup of alcohol. Bottle and refrigerate.  Shake well before use.

The syrup will last weeks or even months in the refrigerator.