Cultivation of Epazote
Site: Epazote is not fussy about soil, but wants full sun and good drainage. As with most herbs, a less-than-rich soil produces the best and most concentrated flavor in the leaves. It can grow fairly large, up to 2 to 3 feet tall, so give it a good-size pot.
Propagation: Sow a few seeds in the pot, and after emergence thin to the best plant. Germination rates are usually very good, and seedlings should appear within a few days of sowing the seed.
Growing: Epazote self-seeds readily and is considered highly invasive. You might want to consider growing it in a pot outdoors. It is usually described as an annual, but apparently can be perennial given warm winter temperatures so take care of your plant and it might last you some years.
Harvesting: To harvest, cut the center stem first, to encourage bushing. Prune the plant frequently to prevent flowering and assure a continuing supply of leaf, but don't harvest more than half the plant at a time. And, as with most herbs, don't fertilize it, lest you weaken the flavor.
Culinary Uses: Epazote (chenopodium ambrosioides) is an unusual herb that is essential for any chef serious about authentic Mexican cooking. In its native Mexico and was common in the pre-Hispanic cooking of the Aztecs and Mayas.
You can use Epazote leaves and fruits in a variety of dishes. It has a strong and pungent flavor with a light hint of mint. It is an essential ingredient in many recipes requiring beans. It’s no surprise to see Epazote used to flavor beans, as its anti-flatulent properties come in quite handy. Epazote is also said to cure an upset stomach. In very large quantities, it can be toxic.