A recent article on Smithsonian Institution’s web page (www.smithsonian.com/invasives) highlighted the culinary uses of a variety of invasive species, notably plants. The feature species was Garlic Mustard. This plant as botanists in the Northeast US know is an ever present pest that is ruining our botanical experience. This species can out compete many natives, reducing our woodlands to barren mono-specific stands of this invasive weed. Well, to the rescue are chef’s and foodies that are touting the benefits of eating this and other plants that fit better on our plate than growing in our woodlands. The chefs described by the article used garlic mustard in a few ways to show it use and wide usage as a green and as an herb.
The Flora of New Jersey members are all too familiar with edible species, we are just a bit overwhelmed by their presence. Wineberry, field garlic, cardoon, pigs-foot and others have been in our herbal repertoire, they have been just under utilized. So the next time there is a local invasive species clean up, maybe it may be just as efficient to eat your way through rather than just cutting and composting!