If you’re in the United States, you’re probably familiar with herbs such as oregano or basil. But if all you ever used in your kitchen were well-known herbs like the aforementioned ones, you’d be missing out on a world of flavors.
Epazote is an example of one herb you might have yet to experience. To help you decide if you want to cook with it, we’ll tell you what epazote tastes like and provide other information about it, as well.
What Does Epazote Taste Like?
Epazote combines the flavors of many popular cooking herbs. It has some sweet anise-like hints and the deeply peppery bite of oregano. As a bright note over all the other flavors, you might also notice that it has a refreshing citrusy quality.
Many people sum up the flavor of epazote as being similar to medicine. Its taste is extremely pungent and should therefore be used carefully in your cooking.
If you’d like to learn more about other herbs, read our post about what basil tastes like.
What is Epazote in English?
Epazote, which is pronounced like eh-pah-zoh-tay, isn’t an English word. It’s actually a Spanish word, which makes sense given that the herb is native to Central and South America.
If you’re wondering what to call it in English, the most proper answer is probably just epazote. That seems to be the consensus for what people call it in general. However, there are other nicknames for the herb, including goosefoot and skunk weed.
Since the other names that epazote goes by aren’t exactly flattering, we recommend just sticking with the word epazote.
What is Epazote Good For?
As a particularly aromatic herb, epazote is obviously excellent for cooking. Some recipes that commonly use epazote are bean mixes and chili.
Cooking aside, there are also health benefits to eating epazote. It’s low in calories, has a decent amount of fiber in every serving, and has compounds that are toxic to certain parasites like pinworms.
Read Also: What Does Cardamom Taste Like?
Is Epazote Toxic?
You might be shocked at just how many plants we eat that are dangerous if prepared improperly or eaten in large amounts. Elderflower is an example of a popular flavor that comes from a poisonous plant.
As it turns out, epazote can also be toxic if you eat too much of it. The toxicity comes from the presence of terpene peroxide ascaridole, the same component that can kill parasites. In large doses, the ascaridole can irritate your skin and cause nausea, constipation, headache, vertigo, and vomiting.
If you do decide to use epazote, follow a recipe and limit the amount you consume.
The palette of the average person is surprisingly narrow. There are all kinds of flavor profiles we may never experience without going outside of our comfort zone. Epazote is an example of an herb that many won’t experience. If you find some, don’t be afraid to use it to make a hearty pot of vegan chili – just be careful not to use too much.