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Foraging in spring: wild garlic recipes

 

Wild garlic picked in March

 

Wild garlic grows from late winter through spring and packed full of fragrant, garlic flavour.

You can find it in abundance in woodlands and shaded, damp areas, but it is so prolific you are likely to find it in hedgerows and banks on the side of the road too!

As it is easily identifiable (the distinctive garlicky smell), accessible and there is so much of it (from late February) it makes for the perfect foraging outing with children.

A great way to connect with nature and educate little ones whilst social distancing.

Searching for wild garlic

 

Once you have collected your haul there are lots of great wild garlic recipes to use it up, and do some home economics (bonus)!

Read on for our favourites:

 

Did you know...

that wild garlic is also known as ramsons, buckrams and even bear leek!

Wild garlic pesto

A foraging classic - a simple twist on traditional pesto that packs a punch and livens up many dishes.

Makes 1 medium jar

Ingredients:

  • 100g wild garlic leaves (a few stalks are fine)
  • 50g parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g toasted pine nuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

 

 

Method:

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor
  • Blitz until your desired consistency - add more oil if you like it a little runnier.
  • Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge.

 

Wild garlic and nettle soup

Made from lots of foraged ingredients - this is a good one to warm you up and make use of nature's in-season bounty as the supermarkets struggle to stock their shelves.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil
  • Dessert spoon of butter
  • 1 white/brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 300g nettles (young leaves are best)
  • 150g wild garlic leaves (no stalks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 30ml creme fraiche or double cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season

 

Method:

  • Heat oil in a large pan, then add butter and melt.
  • Add the onion, celery, leek and potato along with a pinch of salt and pepper - sweat on a low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock.
  • Stir in the nettles, cook for 2 minutes before adding the wild garlic, simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and blend.
  • Add nutmeg and then check seasoning, add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir through 3/4 of the cream or creme fraiche if using.
  • Laddle into bowls and drizzle over remaining cream/creme fraiche. If not using drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Wild garlic salt

This one is a keeper - a great way to preserve that delicious wild garlic flavour for use even when it is not in season. Sprinkle into a wide range of meals - particularly good on barbeque food!

Make 1 small jar

Ingredients:

  • 20g wild garlic leaves (no stalks)
  • 200g sea salt/coarse salt

 

Method:

  • Blitz the wild garlic in a food processor.
  • Add 50g of salt and blend again.
  • Add the remaining salt and pulse slighty or hand mix in a bowl.
  • Turn the mixture out on to a lined baking tray.
  • Heat the oven to 75C and bake for 2 hours until dried out.
  • Once cooled transfer the salt into a pestle and mortar and grind to break the green mixture into a fine wild garlic salt mixture.
  • Store in a sterlised, air tight container.

 

There are lots of other great wild garlic recipes out there, we particularly like the sound of this one for pickled wild garlic buds! A new one for us to try. Plus, keep an eye out for bittercress, various sorrels, pignut and watercress - we'd love to hear your favourite foraging recipes too.

If you enjoyed reading this you might like to take a look at the other articles in our food & drink section >

 

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