Garlic Mustard

I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.

The Beauty of Weeds
Companion Plantings
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning

Hope you enjoyed this introduction and l’ll see you again soon in the series.

The Autistic Composter

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata

“Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish.”

Micheline Ryckman

Garlic mustard is classed as a wildflower and a herb, pending, of course, who you talk to. It can be found in gardens, and l have seen it grown in wildlife gardens, but l often see it when out walking in woodlands or wild overgrown walks on farmland and grassland. It prefers to grow in shady hidden places.

In medieval times, herbalists and apothecaries often used garlic mustard for medicinal properties.

You can use it in salads, and l have used it as a flavouring for fish dishes in the past. It adds quite the flavour to the flesh. The best time to use the plant is when the leaves are young. The plant can be used in cooking and flavouring, from the leaves to the flower to the stem and the roots.

Garlic mustard starts to appear from September and carries on through to April.

The leaves remind me of a nettle leaf except without the itch attached!

A few butterfly species benefit from this plant, and it can also serve as a food source for caterpillars. Aside from that, there are no benefits to insects. But garlic mustard is very much a heavily foraged plant today for culinary requirements.

I hope you enjoyed G is for Garlic Mustard and I’ll see you again soon.

The Autistic Composter

Species Guide Directory

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

11 thoughts on “Garlic Mustard

    1. Hey Renard, this is very true – however unless pickers have herbalists knowledge they should be very careful of picking weeds as there are so many that carry the same appearances but different properties.

      Garlic mustard as an example is known to be used as a remedy for itchiness of bug bites in the ready to now side of things to a herbalist’s vision of using it to treating the likes of skin disorders and chest problems.

      I tend to not lean too far into the herbalist properties in this series however as that is a very different area to foraging for culinary purposes but it is an extremely interesting area also.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey, Rory. My WordPress is quirky today, so it may be, “Here goes nothing”. 😊

    My Granny used to take me with her to forage for wild Greens in the early Spring. Mustard was a favorite and grew quite abundantly in the East Tennessee mountains in those days. I never heard the term “Garlic” Mustard then, or since, here in the states, however. I wonder if it’s the same plant? I don’t remember what the leaf looked like, now.

    Oh, exciting news about the Apothecary series! Have always been interested in herbalogy. 😊


  2. Where I live in the Great Lakes region of the U.S., Garlic Mustard is horribly invasive and has taken over full woodlands. Landowners who want to get rid of it spend a significant amount of time weeding it out, and public lands have annual volunteer events to remove it. I’ve tried eating it and do not like the flavor (although I do like nettles and other greens). Any tricks for enjoying it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michelle 🙂

      Yes in some parts of the world it is classed as invasive, farmers here would say the same in some parts of the country.

      There are quite a few things you can do with the garlic mustard the one l have done the most is lightly saute – with some salt and pepper and maybe some oil – the young leaves, stalk and flowers too. Although be mindful with the amount as the younger plant holds more cyanide.

      I have also added the stems to stir fries in the past.


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