Epazote, transforming the flavors of Mexican cuisine


Epazote is a short-lived annual or perennial plant that grows to an average of 1.2 m, with rather irregularly developed branches and oblong-lanceolate leaves that can reach 12 cm in length. Its leaves are borne in clusters and produce black seeds. The word "epazote" is derived from Nahuatl, which is composed of epatl which means "stench" and tzotl, "sweat", "tears".

Epazote is an aromatic herb of Mexican origin, used in pre-Hispanic times for medicinal, nutritional, and ritual purposes. It is also known by the names of pazote, ipasote, apazote, hierba hedionda, pazoli, pizate. The oldest known reference to epazote is in the Florentine Codex, which mentions it as a fragrant, slender, and thin herb. At the beginning of the XVII century, Gregorio Lopez alludes that "in decoction, it is useful for stones in the bladder or kidneys, ground for dysentery".

Herbaceous, perennial or perennial plant of the Chenopodiaceae family, reaching 40 to 100 cm in height. It has a very branched stem. Its leaves, yellowish or greenish in color, are very small, and grow in terminal spikes. The plant has a strong odor not very pleasant. The leaves and seeds are used for medicinal purposes.

In pre-Hispanic Mexico, epazote was highly appreciated by the indigenous people, both for its flavor and its medicinal properties. Currently, in gastronomy, it is used as a condiment for quesadillas, tamales, chile-atole, esquites, corn, as well as in sauces and soups, because it provides a unique flavor to food.

Broadcast sowing is done in late winter or early spring, in March. spring, in the month of March. If it is done with a pot, using the hand, break up the soil until it is crumbly, then compact it and gently place the seeds place the seed without burying it. The sowing depth of the seeds is twice the diameter; since the seeds are small, only a pinch of soil should be sprinkled on top. Water after sowing. germination is good, the first leaves appear a few days after sowing. days after sowing.

Among its medicinal properties are: to reduce menstrual pains (colic), stomach and intestinal pains, it also eliminates parasites, calms excessive nervousness, decongests the respiratory tract, increases the production of breast milk, and is a complement to the treatment for sterility.

It is preferable to provide a soil rich in organic matter, loose, well-drained. Before planting it is advisable to plow the soil to make it loose and oxygenated. The most suitable climate is temperate and also warm temperate; it does not tolerate frost. It grows in all types of soil but prefers sandy soil.

The annual production in Mexico exceeds one thousand tons, this plant blooms in autumn and winter, it is also an excellent crop for backyard or family gardens, as it adapts to various types of climate, from warm to dry and temperate. Epazote seeds contain quenopodium oil that in large quantities is quite toxic, so its use is suggested in moderation.

In Mexican cuisine epazote is used in many dishes: corn and esquites, black beans, chileatole, quesadillas, tamales, escamoles; in seafood soups such as chilpachole de jaiba; in a wide variety of broths, soups, stews, sauces, and some moles of traditional Mexican cuisine. It is also used as an antispasmodic.

By Mexicanist, Source: Agri-food and Fisheries Information Service