One man's weed is another man's herb.
I have been weeding these plants out of my garden for eight years, and it never occurred to me to even try figuring out what it was. Then it popped up in front of my nose on another blog I read.
Isn't it funny how we don't really know or use the plants that surround us? I've tried growing black pepper plants, which is truly ridiculous in my climate. Last year I grew nasturtiums and ground the flowers for spice. All this time I've had this weed growing in my garden that I could have been using for a peppery spice. Go figure.
"The young leaves can be added to salads or soups — they are peppery. The seed pods can be used like pepper. The root, ground and mixed with vinegar is a good substitute for horseradish. The leaves contain protein, vitamin A and are rich in Vitamin C. There are no poisonous look-alikes."
And if you should happen to leave them in your garden over the winter, they're all dried out and crunchy in the spring.
For now, I've been munching on a few seed pods while weeding. They have a mild black pepper taste. I pulled a bunch out and started drying them whole for winter. I'm also tossing a few into meals as I cook. The roots are very thin and short, and I have more than enough horse radish already, so I won't be trying that part, but as a spice that grows everywhere, and a plant that I don't have to manage, these make the menu.