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Embracing Invasive Plants.



Last night I made a pesto using the invasive  Sahara Mustard - Brassica tournefortii. Each spring in th Mojave Desert everyone is batteling to weed this invasive. I don’t use toxic chemicals so hand weeding is how I control it. I can’t weed fast enough. So I began to embrace the invasive plants and seeing them in a different way, like as food and medicine is a helpful way to look at weeding. 

Usually folks dump toxic chemicals on weeds looking to remove the annoyance and true they are annoying especially when the invasive plants begin to crowd your garden and inhibit growth of your plants. So, I began to Weed looking at the Sahara Mustard in a new light. Last spring I added this spicy warming plant to my Desert Fire Cider, salads and made a tincture with it. This year I have an experiment underway and am expanding on cooking more with Sahara Mustard. As with anything verify and properly ID the plants before working with them. It’s spring and so many “weeds” are in bloom! Love your weeds, one mans weeds are another’s nourishing allies! 

I gathered a bunch of Brassica tournefortii and added it to my homemade pesto last night and am drying the rest for an experiment that I’m going to make in small batch. Talking to Howie Brounstein of Columbine Botanical Studies, he gave me an idea of a way to work with this invasive. I’m waiting for it to dry before making an oil! 


Above is my “new to me” but a recent thrifting score - never used still had its tags attached, IKEA mesh organizer that I’m using as a way to dry the plants that I wildcraft / harvest. It was a $3 score! I’ve seen drying mesh racks online but they are a bit too much! So if you need a drying rack and you have too many hanging from strings that your home is beginning to look like a forest (which I love but I’m running out of room) try IKEA.


I eyeball a lot of my cooking but a DIY using this invasive Mustard was:

2 cups chop spinach 4 garlic cloves 1 roma tomato  1 tbs of ground chia. I used this as a substitute for pine nuts for texture and a nutty taste. 1 tbs grounded and toasted Black sesame seeds 1 juiced lemon 2 tbs olive oil 3 tbs herbal infused white wine Salt (to taste) Pepper 1 tsp grounder rosemary

A few pieces of chopped leaves and flower tops to taste of Sahara Mustard. (To each owns discretion, it may be too spicy for some folks) 

Add in blender and toss into pasta, can be served chilled or warm. As I was eating, I thought how amazing this would be on a Wild Salad or any salad. Maybe adding some Greek Yogurt to make is a bit more creamy. Anyhow experiment, eat the weeds and have fun! 

#joshuatree #invasiveplants #wisewomanTradition #SaharaMustard #brassicatournefortii #brassica #wildcooking #wildcrafting #nourishingfoods #everyleafspeaks #Mojavedesert