Epazote is an herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico. A plant with many colorful names, including pigweed, wormseed and Jesuit's tea, epazote is prized for its pungent flavor. Epazote has a resinous pungency, similar to anise, fennel and tarragon, but stronger. Epazote's fragrance is strong but difficult to describe. It has been compared to citrus, petroleum, savory, mint and camphor, and likened to the fresh smell of a tropical rain forest.
Epazote has been used in Mexican cuisine for thousands of years dating back to the Aztecs who used it for cooking as well as for medicinal purposes. Even today, Epazote leaves are very popular in herbal tea infusions.
Use epazote to add a sweet flavor to soups and salads, in shellfish or egg recipes, or as an ingredient in quesadillas. The taste of epazote is strong, slightly bitter with hints of lemon, and is a traditional ingredient in bean dishes of all kinds. Epazote is commonly believed to prevent flatulence caused by eating beans and is therefore commonly used to season them. Epazote is delicious when used in flavoring meats, beans, and peas.
Epazote combines well with other Mexican seasonings like oregano, cumin and chiles. Ground Epazote has a distinctive lime aroma. Try epazote in a corn and black bean salad, using tortilla strips for "croutons."