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Friday, 11 March 2016

Wild garlic is in season : Will you be picking some : What to do with it


Some people love garlic, whilst others aren't so keen - but have you tried wild garlic? Can't say I have, but as it's in season at the moment why not give a thought to some wild garlic picking this weekend ... weather permitting of course!


I recently read two articles about wild garlic which I'd like to share with you. I particularly like the 'Wild Garlic Pesto' recipe, and quite envy Anna and her walks around the wonderful Dorset countryside to pick wild garlic.

I'm not sure that I find bulb garlic boring as Laura suggests, in fact it brings many dishes to life!

Laura writes "Bulb garlic is boring. It's time to get acquainted with the delicate, leafy green alternative that is wild garlic. And the season has just started, which means it's literally there for the taking.

What is wild garlic?
Pretty self-explanatory, really. It's a leafy, green plant that grows in the wild, and its leaves have a garlic-like taste. It's actually pretty close to the flavour of chives or spring onions, as it's a little more delicate than a regular bulb of garlic. It's also known as ramsons, buckrams, bear's leek (the bears love it too, apparently) and Stinking Jenny, which seems a little unfair to people called Jenny.

What does it look like?
It's got long, deep green leaves a few centimeters in width and often sprouts with little white petaled flowers. You'll see it popping up from March until about June.

Where can I find it?
All over the UK, but it's best to go hunting for it in old woodland or alongside rivers. Look for bluebells, as it's usually found growing alongside them. Rub the leaves in-between your fingers to make sure it's got that garlicky scent. Wild garlic also has individual green stems – if it has a single purple stem, it's Lily of The Valley, and you really don't want to eat that. Or, if you live in a concrete jungle, you might want to just buy it from a shop instead. We can't all be Bear Grylls, after all.

How do I store it?
Put it in a glass of water – it'll last a bit longer after it's been picked.

How can I use it?
It can be used raw as a herb or in a salad, or gently steamed like leafy veg. They use it in Cornwall to coat the rind of some Cornish Yarg. Meanwhile, over in Turkey, they use it in herbed cheese. Also: eat the flowers. Yeah, they look pretty as a garnish, but they're also very lightly scented with that fresh garlic tang. And don't worry, wild garlic won't leave your breath smelling too pungent either – you get all the goodness of garlic, without the stinky after taste."

Now if you are lucky to pick your own wild garlic here is that lovely recipe idea from Anna 

Wild Garlic Pesto:
40g wild garlic, chopped
10g parsley, chopped
25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
20g Parmesan, finely grated
3-4 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice, optional

You can do this in a mortar with a pestle or a small food processor. Whizz or pound the wild garlic, parsley, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. Don’t process too much as it is nice to have a bit of texture to the pesto. Add a good pinch of salt and some pepper, taste and adjust any seasonings to taste. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving, this amount would be enough pesto for 4.



You can also read more about garlic here and here

All the best Jan

26 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the wild garlic is a pretty plant. I have never used, maybe in the future. Thanks for the info. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Eileen, and thanks for your comment.
There are so many pretty plants that we can see when out and about ... some for looking and some for cooking. Of course if you are out and about always take care and do not pick plants / flowers that may be poisonous.

But this pretty wild garlic plant does have some great culinary uses.

Happy Friday - Happy weekend too.

All the best Jan

Anonymous said...

Bluebell picking I have enjoyed but never picked any wild garlic. Maybe I will this year.
Enjoyed reading this.

Jenny S

Debbie said...

i LOVE garlic....pasta and garlic with evoo is my favorite. but it stays with me, i stink for several days.....

this is new to me, i will be looking into it further!!!!

Jo said...

There's wild garlic in our local woods but we haven't been there just lately because of all the rain, we have to cross a farmer's field to get there and it's rather boggy at the moment. I've never tried wild garlic but I keep telling myself that I will.

TexWisGirl said...

i bet that patch is very aromatic!

Phil Slade said...

I'm pretty sure I don't see or smell as much wild garlic aqs I used to some years back. Maybe I should revisit some woodlands I know or is wild garlic more common in the warmer south of the UK?

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Jenny, and thanks for your comment.
According to the article if you should consider wild garlic picking it's "best to go hunting for it in old woodland or alongside rivers. Look for bluebells, as it's usually found growing alongside them. Rub the leaves in-between your fingers to make sure it's got that garlicky scent. Wild garlic also has individual green stems – if it has a single purple stem, it's Lily of The Valley, and you really don't want to eat that."

Whatever your plans for the weekend - hope it's a good one.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Debbie, and thanks for your comment.
When eating garlic I always think it's best for us both to eat it - we're both stinky together then LOL!

Enjoy your Friday and have a good weekend too.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Jo, and thanks for your comment.
Wild garlic in your local wood, that's great! Get your boots on soon and go pick some!
Although maybe Archie may get rather muddy too! On second thoughts perhaps wait a short while and see if the boggy fields clear a little...

Enjoy the remainder of Friday, and have a good weekend.

All the best Jan

Lorna said...

I've never tried wild garlic, but I always used to screw my nose up at the smell when I was walking in the woods and would come across it lol, it's extremely potent!

Raindrops of Sapphire

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Tex, and thanks for your comment.
I'm certainly no expert on wild garlic. I may have come across it before when it was growing beside some bluebells and not been aware of it. I think you need to rub the leaves to make sure it is garlic ... but how lovely / fortunate to be able to pick your own! Certainly makes a walk in the woods a good food adventure!

Good wishes to you, and have a good weekend

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Phil, and thanks for your comment.
I'm still not sure that you do smell it until you rub the leaves...
Hey wait a minute! You do!

I did a little research on the BBC Nature site and it says:-
"Wild garlic - A woodland walk in spring is not complete without the sights and scents from the carpets of wild garlic. The smell from these flowers can be quite overpowering from a colony in full bloom, but is just as strong if the plants are picked or bruised.

Wild garlic does have other attractions for the woodland walker: the clusters of delicate starry white flowers and bright green leaves. These leaves have a mildly garlic taste, but they can easily be mistaken for the poisonous lily of the valley. Wild garlic, or ramsons as they are also known, are vigorous growers and can dominate woodland floors and shady places in Europe and Asia."

It may be worth checking out sites like the National Trust, they usually have hints / tips about where these great wild garlic may be http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/places-where-wild-garlic-grows

Happy hunting

All the best Jan

David Gascoigne said...

Garlic is surely the greatest of all herbs. I would say that 90% of what we cook has garlic and onion as two of the ingredients.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Lorna, and thanks for your comment.
Also a warm welcome to the low carb diabetic blog.

Since putting this post up and reading comments, I have learned more about this wonderful wild garlic - which is why I love blogging. We can all share our experiences, our favourite recipes, favourite walks, great articles, recent news, diabetic studies, music and more! Yes, you can tell I do like blogging! LOL!

Will you be wild garlic picking soon - you may get some great shots you could use on your blog ...

Have a good weekend

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi David, and thanks for your comment.
Also a warm welcome to the low carb diabetic blog - here you will find a mix of articles, recipe ideas, and even music on a Saturday Night! We hope something for everyone, but a LCHF theme obviously runs through the blog.
Garlic is just great to use in our cooking isn't it ... although I still know of some that turn their nose up to it. They don't know what they are missing!

Since putting this post up and reading through comments I have picked up even more tips about this great herb.

Enjoy the rest of Friday and have a good weekend.
Hope you may come back and visit us soon!

All the best Jan

Snowbird said...

I love wild garlic and have some growing in my garden, I enjoy regular garlic just as much though.xxx

Louise said...

Hi Jan

Thanks for your kind comment, I'm glad you enjoyed my latest wild moments post!

I love wild garlic - it's one of the best things about spring for me! Every year I say I will try making wild garlic pesto but I've never done so yet!

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Snowbird, and thanks for your comment.
How great to have wild garlic growing in your garden,it must taste lovely in your dishes.
Whichever type of garlic used it can add that extra taste to a dish can't it.

Enjoy your weekend

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Louise, and thanks for your comment.
I loved your 'wild moments' post ...

As you like wild garlic - why not make 2016 the year to make some wild garlic pesto - I bet you'll enjoy it!

Have a good weekend

All the best Jan

The Happy Whisk said...

I was telling Tim that this year, I want to learn more about foraging, herbs and greens. And then last night, I had a dream that I was mushroom hunting.

Happy Weekend :-)

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Ivy, and thanks for your comment.
That sounds a great idea for you and Tim to do some foraging ... herbs and greens, just take care and do not pick anything that may be poisonous ... there is info on the web for what to look out for, something like this for instance
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/cooking_school/wild_greens_how_to_forage_in_your_own_back_yard_for_edibles.php

For those in the UK this may be helpful http://www.wildfoodschool.co.uk/urban/wfsurbanguide.pdf

Ivy ...may your weekend be a good one.

All the best Jan

chris c said...

My father grew alliums - flowering garlics of different types. One of them escaped and spread all over the garden. Whenever I used the strimmer I was overcome by garlic fumes and a strong desire to eat pizza (this was pre-low carb). Here we have a couple of other species which grow as weeds and are also very aromatic but I never tried eating them. The true wild garlic isn't as common here as in other places, I've seen (and smelled) huge patches of it mainly in damp riverside woods.

Somewhere I have a classic book - Food For Free by Richard Mabey.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Chris, and thanks for your comment.
Ever since I posted this article I am learning more and more about wild garlic - which is great!

That book by Richard Mabey looks a winner and you can get it on kindle...
Me, I'd prefer the paperback version, about £3-99 (and some used ones for less) on Amazon !

All the best Jan

Crafty Green Poet said...

Wild garlic pesto is delicious! You have to wash the leaves thoroughly though, specially if picked from areas where lots of dogs run around

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi 'CGP' and thanks for your comment.
It was great to see your wild garlic photo ... and many thanks for a very sensible tip!

All the best Jan

N.B. Should any other readers like to look at 'CGP's wild garlic photo, please use this link here:
http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/easter-monday.html