No Americans Please

Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

If you’re American, look away now, or at the very least put your fingers in your ears while you read this. Garlic Mustard is a very useful plant, in fact that’s why it was taken from this side to that side in the first place. It’s not our fault that your flora and fauna can’t stand up for itself, now is it? Just stop whining about it and get the damn stuff eaten.

We need a little entrepreneurial spirit here and the problem could be as good as solved. Let me give you a hint, I know that your wildlife isn’t particularly partial to the stuff but people have been eating it with relish for centuries.

Just think of all those Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato bagels. Yes, I know it’s probably turkey bacon and the way you pronounce tomato makes it virtually unintelligible but a few Garlic Mustard leaves in each Big M?? would soon thin the vegetation.

It just needs a little imagination, pretend it’s a new version of the phone made by that other fruit and vegetable purveyor. A viral YouTube video or two and a couple of Super Bowl ads should move things along nicely – and work out a good deal cheaper than all that weed-killer.

Oh, and by the way, if you stuff the seeds up your nose it makes you sneeze. That’s useful to know isn’t it?

Flavoursome

Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

Well, here’s another plant we notice a lot now it has come into flower. Jack-By-The-Hedge or Garlic Mustard. There was certainly no shortage of Garlic flavouring around in the olden days. There’s no mention of bears digging this one up though.

Mrs Grieve (in the 1931 edition of A Modern Herbal) mentions that it was quite a useful plant medicinally – it can, for instance, be used to work up a sweat without all that exercise. She also says it is a ‘deobstruent’ for which Google suggests ‘aperient’  looking up aperient gave me a list of things such as “Constipation in Kids”, etc. – so I looked no further. She also mentions that eaten as a salad “. . . it warms the stomach and strengthens the digestive faculties”. Herbs that strengthened your ‘faculties’ were very common in the early 1900s.

It only flowers every second year and you can check to be sure it’s the right plant by – guess what? Crushing the leaves to see if they smell of garlic.

We’ll try it next time we see some.

PS The Wild Garlic smells of garlic – we tried crushing a leaf, it’s not a very strong aroma – but quite definite.

Edit: We tried some of the Garlic Mustard – and it is really tasty and tangy!