Alliaria petoliata / Look zonder look

Look-zonder-look (Alliaria petiolata, synoniem: Alliaria officinalis of Sisymbrium alliaria) is een algemeen voorkomende plant die behoort tot de kruisbloemenfamilie (Brassicaceae). Binnen de kruisbloemenfamilie is de soort gemakkelijk te herkennen aan de witte bloemen, het blad en de geur. Na het wrijven van een blad komt er een geur vrij die volgens sommigen op uien lijkt, maar door de meeste mensen als knoflook wordt aangeduid. De plant dankt hieraan ook zijn naam; het ruikt naar look maar is botanisch niet verwant aan look.

De botanische naam Alliaria is afgeleid van het woord voor knoflook. De plant werd reeds in de 16e eeuw genoemd door Bock en Fuchs. Overigens verspreiden niet alleen de bladeren, maar ook de zaden en wortels deze geur.

Garlic mustard, growing as a ground cover in many places in the country, is a gold mine of food and medicine. We are blessed when a plant such as the garlic mustard shows up in abundance. Some might feel threatened by its prolific growth and fear that it may be out of control, but we might also choose to relax and trust in nature and the natural succession that has been happening in wild places across the globe over millennia.

All mustards are edible, and garlic mustard has a special pungent garlic-like flavor, perfect for adding to a host of recipes. All parts of the mu

stard plant have a valuable quality that helps stimulates circulation of the blood. And when our body has a good exchange and movement of fluids there is a heightened communication between our organs, tissues and cellular matrix. This activity promotes optimal health through greater efficiency of regenerating tissues and effective elimination of wastes.

Mustard leaves can be added to green juices for an added zest in flavor. When collected, dried and mixed with salt, the greens are great for seasoning dishes. The nutrient dense seasoning powder not only tastes delicious but provides our body a rainbow of minerals that are not readily found in conventionally grown foods. Garlic mustard greens are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C as well as trace minerals, chlorophyll and enzymes. The roots taste like horseradish and can be pickled or used in soups as a root vegetable. The seeds when ground make a fabulous mustard sauce and the dried greens can be made into a paste like wasabi.

Garlic mustard is one of the oldest spices used in Europe. Phytoliths in pottery of the Ertebølle and Funnelneck-Beaker culture in north-eastern Germany and Denmark, dating to 4100–3750 BCE prove its use. In the 17th century Britain, it was recommended as a flavouring for salt fish. It can also be made into a sauce for eating with roast lamb or salad. Early European settlers brought the herb to the New World to use as a garlic type flavouring. Its traditional medicinal purposes include use as a diuretic.[8] The herb was also planted as a form of erosion control.

Today, the chopped leaves are used for flavouring in salads and sauces such as pesto, and sometimes the flowers and fruit are included as well. The leaves, best when young, taste of both garlic and mustard. The seeds are sometimes used in France to season food.[8] Garlic mustard was once used medicinally as a disinfectant or diuretic, and was sometimes used to treat wounds.