1st picture: Garlic Mustard  2nd picture: Garlic Mustard leaves   3rd picture: Garlic Mustard Pesto  4th picture: Garlic Mustard Crackers  5th picture: Cultured Rustic Walnut Cheese  6th picture: Walnut Cheese culturing overnight  7th and 8th picture: Cheese Board with Rustic Cultured Walnut Cheese, Garlic Mustard Pesto and Crackers adorned with wild flowers


Do you have Garlic Mustard growing near you right now? We have it growing on our property and it appears to be growing everywhere right now in our neck of the woods.

Garlic Mustard is one of those plants that grow abundantly and prolifically. Many people think of it as a pesky weed but this plant believe it or not is rich in nutrition and has many medicinal properties

We have been taking many walks in nature the last several weeks and this plant is growing wild all over the forest floors. It can also be found in open fields, shady roadsides, shaded woodland areas, and along fences and hedgerows.

For identification; its leaves vary in size and shape, from rounded, to kidney shaped, to triangular with a serrated edge. The clustered white small flowers with 4 petals usually arrive in April or May. The plant can grow to be 3 feet tall.  If you rub or tear the leaves and stem of this plant, you will smell the garlic fragrance. If you do not smell any garlic, then leave it alone…it is not garlic mustard.

The Latin name for Garlic Mustard is: Alliaria Petiolata. This plant is a cruciferous vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, which is comprised of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, collard greens, kohlrabi, horseradish, rutabaga, watercress, cabbage, bok choy, and mustard plants…such as Garlic Mustard.

Cruciferous vegetables help to promote healthy gut bacteria, assist in liver detoxification, and have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

“Garlic mustard is one of the most nutritious greens ever analyzed and it finds itself at the top of the list of nutrients compared to other greens,” says John Kalas, PhD. It has shown itself to be highest among all leafy greens in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

This amazing plant has been medicinally as an anti-asthmatic, diaphoretic, vermifuge, and as an aid in bronchitis. It also stimulates blood circulation preventing stagnation and congestion in our system.

Garlic mustard can be added to soups, stews, homemade crackers, breads, cheeses, and other dishes where you would add garlic. It can also be made into a pestos and wasabi type paste. Many use the root as a substitute for horseradish. You can also make it into a medicinal herbal vinegar.

Remember to only harvest this plant if you are sure the area you are picking is free of herbicides, pesticides, and roadside fumes and exhaust.

Read blog article “A Dandy Meal” for more safety tips on finding and foraging for wild foods.

Garlic Mustard has so much to offer us and the beauty is that there is plenty for everyone because of its abundance!

 

I made a batch of garlic mustard crackers and a garlic mustard pesto to go with a homemade cultured walnut cheese recipe. They all went so well together and the flavors blended perfectly together creating a delicious snack or light meal.

Bon Appetit!

 

Garlic Mustard Pesto

1 cup of washed garlic mustard leaves

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 large lemon

½ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Whirl all the ingredients in a food processor until pesto consistency. Store in fridge up for 3-4 days.

 

Garlic Mustard Crackers

2 cups of pumpkin seeds (soaked in water for 8 hours and rinsed)

*You can use any seed or nut if you wish but soak first to help with digestive process of the nuts/seeds

5 TBSP ground flax meal

½ cup water

3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast (optional- added for an added cheesy flavor)

¼ cup dried garlic mustard leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 TBSP of dried Garlic Mustard or other dried herbs for cracker topping- can use Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, rosemary, or a blend of all of them

Blend all ingredients together in food processor, except for 1-2 TBSP of dried herbs for topping, save that for last step. Blend until cracker dough resembles a thick batter consistency.

Spread batter thinly onto a Teflex lined dehydrator sheet (Excalibur dehydrator) and sprinkle the dried herbs on top. Take rolling pin and roll dried herbs into batter to keep in place during the drying process. Dehydrate at 115 degrees F for 3 hours, then score with a pizza cutter to make crackers. Dehydrate for another 8 hours, break crackers apart and dehydrate for another 1-2 hours.

If you do not have a dehydrator, bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheets on the lowest setting of your oven until crackers are lightly brown and crunchy.

 

Cultured Rustic Walnut Cheese

I have so many patients that are dairy intolerant so I decided to create a cheese recipe using nuts. I find dairy to be mucus forming in most individuals, especially in the spring when the body is trying to discard excess waste from the winter months. This “cheese” recipe is nutritious, delicious, and will not cause excess mucus in the body. T

This walnut cheese alternative is cultured using either water kefir, coconut kefir, or probiotic capsule in the batter. If you do not have any of these on hand, you may use water instead. This cheese is delicious and tangy. If you decide to bake it, know that you will lose your probiotic content but it does give the cheese more of a feta cheese consistency which is yummy. You can also choose to dehydrate it to keep the probiotic content instead of baking the cheese. If you choose this option, dehydrate the cheese at 115 degrees F for 24 hours, flipping the cheese at 12 hours intervals to dry out top and bottom.

2 cups walnuts (soaked in water for 8 hours and rinsed)

*You can also use blanched almonds for this recipe too, which will give the cheese a whiter appearance looking more like cheese-still soak your almonds like the walnuts above

1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup coconut kefir, water kefir, a probiotic capsule (open, use the powder only, and discard the capsule ) or you may use water

¼ cup olive oil

5 cloves garlic

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Place walnut cheese onto cheesecloth that is triple lined, bring corners and sides together and secure with a rubber band. Place ball in a strainer that is hovering over a bowl (the bowl will catch the liquid that drains from the cheese).

Let sit on counter overnight and in the morning, discard excess liquid that drained from the cheese into the bowl. Remove cheesecloth and enjoy. The cheese will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Eaten like this, the cheese will have a spreadable and smooth consistency. If you prefer to have a crumblier, drier cheese, take the cheese, flatten to 1 inch thickness, and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 200 degrees F for 2-3 hours or until top is firm. Let cool in oven and then refrigerate.

Drizzle Garlic Mustard Pesto on top of cheese and eat with Garlic Mustard crackers…Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

Update:Spring Wild Edibles
More recipes