Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
- Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, has a spicy and slightly bitter taste.
- It emits a mildly tart smell.
- It enhances sauces, fish and vegetable soups, roast game, lard, and salads.
What is Mugwort?
Mugwort, belonging to the genus Artemisia vulgaris, is a culinary herb in Germany.
Mugwort thrives in the temperate climate of Europe. It is a perennial plant that can reach a height of up to 1.8 meters. If you're foraging during the summer, you may come across wild spice mugwort. If you intend to harvest it, make sure it hasn't bloomed yet, as it tends to taste overly bitter once it has. The optimal harvest time is between July and September.
What Do I Use Mugwort For?
In the kitchen, the main parts used are the fresh or dried young shoots of the flower, as well as the leaves and flower buds. When harvesting, it's important to ensure that the flower buds are still closed, as open buds may render the leaves too bitter and unsuitable for use as a spice.
What Does It Taste Like?
Mugwort has a slightly pungent aroma, akin to pepper, with a hint of spearmint. It's a quintessentially German herb.
Mugwort aids digestion due to its bitter compounds, which stimulate the production of gastric juice and bile. This makes it an excellent spice for seasoning fatty foods. It's commonly used in preparing carp, goose, or sheep. Additionally, it enhances sauces and salads. To do so, simply add some mugwort to your salad dressing. It pairs well with minced meat or duck.
Mugwort is incorporated into goose stuffing to infuse flavor into the bird. It's crucial to cook the mugwort for an extended period for optimal results.
Which Herbs Can I Combine with Mugwort?
Mugwort, also known as Artemisia vulgaris, pairs well with various other herbs. It combines well with the following:
- Thyme: The combination of mugwort and thyme refines savory dishes, especially those with poultry or pork.
- Rosemary: Mugwort and rosemary complement each other well, especially in dishes with lamb or game.
- Sage: These two herbs flavor Mediterranean dishes like pasta or risotto.
- Oregano: Mugwort enhances the aroma of oregano, especially in Italian dishes like pizza and pasta.
- Marjoram: Mugwort and marjoram can harmonize well in soups and stews.
- Basil: Mugwort and basil can be used together in many Italian dishes, especially in tomato sauces.
- Chervil: The combination of mugwort and chervil can work well in soups and sauces.
Please note that the optimal combination of herbs depends on your personal preferences and the specific dish. Therefore, it's worth experimenting with different combinations to find out which ones you like best.
How Do I Store Kitchen Herbs?
Place your kitchen herbs in a tightly sealed container. I recommend using jars that can be sterilized before use. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Extra tip: A tea made from mugwort is known to have calming properties and may help with diarrhea.