Green Pancakes?

Alliaria petiolata

I realize this plant is actually an invasive weed in North America, but I don’t mind it in my garden since it tastes great!

I’ve noticed/smelt it before, growing down in the woods by the river, but as a spindly upright plant with pointed leaves and white flowers. So when I saw this big healthy plant in the open sun, still in bud, flourishing on our old compost heap, I didn’t recognize it! The bushy young plant has heart-shaped leaves. But as it grows upwards and thins out the leaves become more pointed. The small white flowers appear in May, and can also be eaten.

We laughed at it possibly being edible, as it grows near our nettles. And then we rubbed the leaves…. mmm! We tried it…

… the flavour was first garlicky, then bitter, then very strong, and then peppery. I immediately looked it up, already suspecting what it was, and found a few recipes.

In German it is called “garlic weed” (Knoblauchsrauke), but in English it is known as Garlic Mustard. That explains the spiciness.  (Apparently it can also be called “Jack-in-the-bush”!) I imagine it tastes stronger as it grows, so I decided to try out this recipe while the leaves are still young and tender.

(For more information and photos of the flower, take a look here: Alliaria petiolata)

To celebrate Earth Day: Green Pancakes!

Green Pancakes
For two people, puree about 40g of the leaves (washed and shaken dry) with 100ml milk, a pinch of salt and two eggs. Mix in 85g self-raising flour and let stand for 30 minutes. Then fry in a pan just like pancakes and enjoy with salt and pepper or – even better – with a little grated cheese on top!

We are planning on trying a pesto next, or maybe some herb butter…

26 thoughts on “Green Pancakes?

  1. Garlic Mustard pesto tastes great, and you can even pull the young sprouts when you’re out on a picnic and put them right onto your sandwich! HOWEVER – *please* take the invasive character of this plant more seriously. It has the potential to take over a woodland and completely prevent native species, including wildflowers, ferns, and trees, from germinating and growing. It is a very real threat to our plants and wildlife into the future. If it is not already widespread near your home, please remove it from your garden! Fore more information: http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/fact/garlic.htm or check at your local resource or extension agency.

    • It’s native here, and doesn’t seem invasive at all, but I have read it’s a real problem in some countries… all the more reason for eating it! I’d love more of it, as this single plant has already been drastically diminished by our pancakes! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Whew! When I read your first line, I thought you might be doing a post on kudzu! (I’ve heard they eat it in some countries…but maybe not.) But, that’s some creative cooking, Cathy. 🙂

  3. I do not know this plant, but I am allto usind edible plants, and this looks delicious. I checked on Wikipedia: The chopped leaves are used for flavoring in salads and sauces such as pesto, and sometimes the flowers and fruit are included as well. These are best when young, and provide a mild flavour of both garlic and mustard. Garlic mustard was once used medicinally..

  4. What an interesting idea! I have that plant growing in my own yard and would have never thought it was edible. I wonder what else it could be used for?

  5. I also thought of kudzu first! This is a plant I don’t remeber seeing- I’ll keep my eye out for it. Green pancakes and earth day makes sense to me. How did they taste?

  6. I saw a post on another blog late last summer from someone who found a mature plant on his property, and collected the seeds to make mustard. Less spread in the garden, more spread for a sandwich! 😉

  7. Very interesting! I´ve never heard of that plant before, but I´m sure I´ve seen it growing somewhere. Thank you!

  8. A creative and undoubtedly tasty recipe, for certain! Garlic mustard is a prohibited noxious weed where I live; the government is working hard to eradicate it.

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