Should We Eat Garlic Mustard, or Not?


A recent article in the May 9 issue of Conservation Magazine online called “Recipe for Disaster? raises concerns about the long-term unintended consequences  of making certain invasive species part of our regular diet.  The article says that concerns include the possibility that:

“People might also start to value an invasive species more if it is successfully integrated into local cuisine. Once residents start making money by hunting or raising these animals, they may oppose removing the species entirely, the researchers suggest. Some invasive species could even become an important part of local culture. The non-native wild boar, for instance, is now strongly linked to cultural traditions in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Here in Wisconsin, the pest plant with the highest edibility quotient is probably garlic mustard.  Wisconsin and other parts of the midwestern United States are the epicenter of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and although some folks here have taken to making garlic mustard pesto, adding it to salads, and as a garnish on sandwiches, it does not seem that these food uses will remove garlic mustard from the pest plant “most wanted list.”

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist practicing and writing in the Midwestern United States.
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