Most people have never heard of epazote, however, you have probably tasted it and wondered exactly what it was. Epazote is the leaf in black beans and that great lemony aftertaste in an authentic salsa.
Raw, it has a resinous, medicinal pungency, similar to the liquorice taste of anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but stronger. Epazote’s fragrance is strong, but difficult to describe. It has been compared to citrus, petroleum, savory, mint and putty.
Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its antiflatulent properties, it is also sometimes used to flavor other traditional Mexican dishes as well: it can be used to season quesadillas and sopes (especially those containing huitlacoche), soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chile, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas.
Also know as Mexican tea, wormseed and stinkweed.
Epazote can normally be found fresh in Mexican grocery stores or is available air-dried.
Often, the first time a person tastes epazote, they feel an instant dislike – almost a gag reflex for some. Given time, most people will acquire a taste for it. Epazote is an essential ingredient in authentic Mexican cuisine.
WARNING: Epazote can be toxic especially during pregnancy