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May 1, 2006 06:08 PM

Epazote - How do You Use It?

  • n

I see epazote all the time in the bodega produce stores in my neighborhood. I know it's used in Latino/Mexican cooking, but how I could work it into my own cooking? I do Mexican food a lot at home, but nothing fancy. I tasted the raw epazote and it tastes quite bitter.

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  1. I really like it in soups, tamale fillings and cooked salsa. I normally put a sprig or two in while cooking and then fish it out before serving or using.
    It tastes HORRIBLE soap. I know people say that about cilantro, but this really does.
    Also, once when I had a stomach ache, my Salvadoran friend made me a stong "tea" of boiled epazote. I don't know how much I believe this, but it is thought throughout Latin-America to be a digestive aid.

    1. b
      Becca Porter

      In all my Rick Bayless books, the most common use is in beans. It is supposed to help with the digestion, as well as help flavor.

      I ordered some seed and I have some ready to harvest. I can't wait.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Becca Porter

        I second the idea of using it with beans. I throw a sprig into the pot while their cooking. It is really aromatic and has a wonderful taste too.

        1. re: becs
          Das Ubergeek

          ...and it helps with the, um, byproducts of semidigested beans.

          1. re: becs
            Niki Rothman

            Thanks to you and the other posters. Since it comes in a bunch, would I use one sprig for a pot of beans and then dry the rest for making beans of the future? Would it add anything to cajun red beans and rice or jambalaya/gumbo type concoctions, or do you think it's stricly for Mexican dishes - do you think it would be tasty added to a salsa or enchiladas? It sounds like epazote is a bitter green that needs long cooking to mellow it, no?

            1. re: Niki Rothman

              It doesn't need a really long cooking to change its flavor and impart it into the dish. I use it in cooked salsas that only cook for 20 minutes or thereabouts, so it's not limited to 1 hour+ preparations.
              I think your idea about enchiladas is great if you are making your sauce.

              1. re: Niki Rothman

                It's more a pungent herb, like oregano. I don't think it needs much cooking. A Mexican friend broils fish with it, it's good. A little goes a long way. Fool around with it, what the hell. Not in salad, though. Ick.

          2. In addition to beans (especially black), it's a great addition to quesadillas. Just put a few fresh leaves into the cheese before you cook it. It has a very strong petrol-like flavor and aroma that turns some people off, but I love.


            1. Great advice so far! I use it in my Black Beans and to flavor salsas and Soups... It's a strong flavor, so use it sparingly at first until you develop a taste (And then use it like a mad woman like me! :))