Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Essential Herb -- GUASCAS

What are Guascas?

These small plants belong to the Daisy family. Originally grown only in the Andes, Guascas were brought to the United States (date unknown) and Great Britain (in 1796) and have thrived. The plant is known as the Gallant Soldier (Galinsoga parviflora) and is considered a weed in both the US and Great Britain. However, in the Andes, from Colombia to Peru, it is considered and essential herb. Rich in minerals, it is used in several Colombian dishes including: Ajiaco (from Bogotá) and Mute (from Santander) – [see tomorrow’s post for the recipe].

My husband remembers that his mother had a Guascas plant in her garden and would add guasca leaves to the family’s eggs.

Dried Guascas can be purchased at the following online stores:
http://www.amigofoods.com/kigu10gr.html
http://www.tifcofoods.com/search.php?s=guascas

More information available:

* Photo by Wikemedia Commons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Galinsoga_parviflora_bluete.jpeg
* Photo by pattoncito
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattoncito/2299267862/

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are the most important ingredient for Ajiaco

Anonymous said...

just returned from Columbia. Loved Ajiaco. Found Guascas in Half Moon Bay at kitchen store. Do you have an Ajiaco recipe to share?
Li

Colombian Mommy said...

I have post for the next 3 weeks already written, but I try to sneak it in. I love Ajiaco -- so delicious!!

Anonymous said...

If anyone knows where to find them FRESH let me know. RUBENRLEON at GMAIL dot com. I've searched the web for seed, or seedlings. No way. Most people in the states know them as a invasive weed known as the GALLANT SOLDIER.

Anonymous said...

I found the Fresh Guascas (Gallant Soldier) after spending months of research, posting on blogs and gardening websites and about $250 in overnight shipping from the East Coast from people I met online. As of two weeks ago I FINALLY have FRESH Guascas growing on my back deck here in San Diego. I have colombian friends that are so excited about the possibility of having fresh guascas here in the USA. Interested? My email is at rubenrleon at gmail dot com. Fresh Homemade AJIACO soon!

mrlata said...

I know this is years later, but in case anyone is reading this....this is the weed galinsoga here in the US, it is EXTREMELY common so you should not be spending lots of money finding it! Just go to any patch of land, farm, grassy path, at least on the east coast, and you'll probably see it! I would suggest finding a farm and picking it htere, and not by the road edge (pollutants, etc) but the farmers I know would love for you to take as much as you like ! :-)