Epazote is a Latin American herb that comes with a very distinct smell and taste. Its smell can be unappealing when raw, but will soften with cooking. Also known as wormseed and Mexican tea, epazote derives from the Nahuatl work epatzotl (epatl meaning “skunk” and tzotl meaning “dirty), which is descriptive of its wild taste.
Epazote is best used fresh but can be dried; hang upside down in a cool, dark, well ventilated spot. Once dried, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 6 months.
If you won’t be drying the herb, it is great used fresh in rice and bean dishes. Roughly chop the leaves and add fresh to your burritos, quesadillas or enchiladas. Or try adding some fresh leaves to salsa verde. In cooking, epazote is typically used as whole stems or just the freshly chopped leaves that add a distinct flavor to Mexican and Caribbean food. Whole stems can also be added to braising meat dishes and make a nice addition to tortilla soup. If you love corn on the cob, try this Mexican take on corn that will encourage the use of fresh epazote.
In traditional herbal medicine, epazote is recommended for dispelling gastrointestinal worms and used as a tea to help with flatulence.