This year the wild garlic was out and about in Cornwall when we were there at the beginning of April before Easter! It was early here in Surrey too – so I have only just caught the tail end of the fabulous foraging opportunity. I went out with a friend yesterday and we managed to follow our noses down to the river Mole and forage some fabulous fresh leaves and flowers.
When Aars and I saw the wild garlic around the castle at St Mawes I had to give it a good sniff as the leaves were different to the leaves of the wild garlic we get in the wooded areas around the river here. They were narrower and tougher, (more like blue-bell leaves in shape) the leaves I forage locally are morel like spinach leaves!
Hopefully there will still be a lovely crop out this weekend so you can go foraging for some scrummy fresh leaves with your friends. They are noticeable by their pretty white flowers and their strong garlic smell! There is no room for confusion or doubt, when you find them, you will do so by being led by your nose.
Forage with care and awareness, off the beaten track (away from the paths where foxes or dogs may have marked their territories!) We popped a plank over the stream and picked our leaves and flowers when no path had yet been trod. You want to pick the larger wild garlic leaves as the small ones wilt really quickly and become un-usable within hours. We picked some of the lovely flowers too – they are so pretty and taste like fresh bursts of chives when you sprinkle them over a salad or savoury dish.
I forage both the leaves and the flowers with a good length of stem so that I can pop them into a jar full of water as soon as I get home – but be warned they do pong the kitchen out with their strong garlic scent! As always when foraging only ever take as much as you will use
I go equipped for foraging wild garlic with a brown paper bag or brown paper to wrap my leaves and flowers in, and a light fabric bag so that they don’t get bruised or crushed. As soon as I get home I bung both the flowers and the leaves in jars of water.
One of my favourite things to make with wild garlic leaves is wild garlic pesto. It’s really simple and really yummy, the flavour of garlic from the foraged leaves is so much more subtle than the cloves we’re used to using in our cooking. If your family is fine with nuts you can add pine nuts to your pesto for some extra depth. I keep mine in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for when I fancy it!
I love the leaves as part of a fresh salad, with a few of the beautiful wild garlic flowers sprinkled on top. The flowers taste more like chives than garlic and are really pretty too!
If you do choose to cook your wild garlic treat it as you would spinach – it barely needs any cooking time at all. I made my herby gnocchi this afternoon with tomatoes and wild garlic cooked into the mix it was YUMSVILLE! If you fancy a subtly flavoured naan bread give our gorgeous wild garlic and coriander naan breads a go. They are simply scrummy :).
There are a few recipes below for you to try with your foraged wild garlic! Happy hunting and have a fab rest of week!
smiles and love,