Nepitella is an herbaceous perennial that spreads horizontally my means of underground rhizomes. It is a bushy herb that produces small, fuzzy leaves that are a shade of grayish-green. The plant blooms in the spring producing tiny pale purple flowers which are very aromatic and also edible. Nepitella’s strong and distinctive woodsy flavor is described as being a combination of mint, oregano and basil.
This minty herb is traditionally paired with mushroom or artichoke dishes in its native Tuscany. It is used more often in savory dishes and its strong flavor compliments rich fatty meats such as pork, lamb, beef and spicy Italian sausage. Chop Nepitella and add to pastas or sautéed greens in recipes where oregano is traditionally used. Use as a fresh garnish in place of basil on pizzas or add to a side of grilled summer squash to add a spicy lemon accent. Like oregano, it can easily overpower a dish, and should be used sparingly. Nepitella can be dried and stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place.