Botanical Name: Piper Auritum
Common Names: yerba santa, anisillo, eared pepper, root beer plant, sacred pepper, acuyo
What parts of hoja santa are used?
Most flavorful eaten fresh, this herb is used, fresh or dried, in sauces and infusions. Young leaves are used in soups and stews or as a condiment for meats. Stems are used in salads and soups. The big aromatic leaves are used to wrap foods before cooking, protecting seafood, beef and chicken from the heat and adding additional flavor. In Mexican cooking, they are often used to wrap tamales.
How do you identify hoja santa where is it grown?
This herb has a lot of heart as represented by its large, velvety, heart-shaped leaves. It flowers with long and white, spike-shaped, blooms.
Like root beer?
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the taste of this aromatic herb varies from person to person. Some say its subtle flavor is similar to root beer or sassafras. Others detect notes of black pepper, basil, tarragon or nutmeg. Most agree that the flavorful leaves can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen.
Hoja Santa leaves are traditionally used in culinary dishes, for example fish is sometimes wrapped in the leaves. Tastes like Rootbeer! Other common preparations include teas and tinctures. The tea is prepared with 2 tablespoons of cut herb combined with 8 ounces of water. Brewed, infused for 5-8 minutes.
Usually Prepared With:
There are sundry herbs and foods that Hoja Santa is combined with. Several examples of general pairings include with Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Hops and Valerian root, among others.