Garlic Mustard: make like a rabbit and pesto

Maureen makes like a rabbit
Maureen makes like a rabbit

Garlic Mustard is coming up everywhere now. Young, fresh, and delicious. Go out and get it before the leaves get too bitter to eat. We spent about 5 minutes harvesting and gathered enough to make about a pint of delicious pesto. Find a dense patch and high gain like a rabbit.

garlic mustard (right) growing next to bloodroot (left), a native spring ephemeral in the Arboretum
garlic mustard (right) growing next to bloodroot (left), a native spring ephemeral in the Arboretum

Garlic Mustard is an invasive species in our mesic forests. You can find it right now in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, the Arboretum, and many other woodlands around. It is considered invasive because it spreads quickly and can displace other native plants, such as the spring ephemerals (spring beauties, trout lillies, bloodroot, etc). They thrive in the shade of the mesic forest. When fire and grazing restore mesofied lands back to open savanna in the Midwest, Garlic Mustard won’t be a problem. So get out there and eat it while you can!

Garlic Mustard Pesto Recipe
-several handfulls of young garlic mustard leaves
– plenty of olive oil
-several garlic cloves
-nice hunk of parmesan cheese
-toasted pine nuts, almonds, and/or walnuts
-lemon juice (not too much)
-salt and pepper
 
Blend together in food processor. Start with the garlic mustard and slowly add olive oil to help facilitate the blending. Add chunks of cheese, toasted nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add more cheese if pesto is too bitter. 

Comments

@maureenkc

If it’s still too bitter, a little sugar can help, too (about 1 Tbsp does the trick)