At the weekend we went in search of wild garlic! If you’ve never had it before, the taste is a cross between spinach, kale and garlic… lots of garlic. It’s delicious and I think the fact that it’s only available for a few weeks a year (normally April – June) makes it taste even better. If you’ve never seen wild garlic before here’s what it looks like:
We hopped on our bikes to search for some but didn’t have look far because we found a large area of it a couple of miles from home. It was bordering a stream sheltered by trees at the bottom of a hill.
Picking this made me really hungry. Does garlic fire up anyone else’s appetite?
This photo shows you just how much of it there was. The white flowers went to the top of the banks as far as we could see.
On the way home we rewarded ourselves with a cold brewskie at a local pub. I had to unroll the top of my pannier bag to let the smell out because last time we did this it stank of garlic for 2 days!
When we got home I washed it and put it in a bowl ready for the weeks meals. I wonder how many meals I can eat before I start to smell myself? 🙂
Identifying wild garlic
The easiest way to identify wild garlic is by the smell – you can usually smell it before you see it. The plant has prongs of white flowers and smooth, slender green leaves. If you haven’t picked wild garlic before here are a few pointers:
- Take your time. You don’t want to forage in a rush and make a mistake
- If it doesn’t smell of garlic then it’s not the right plant
- Don’t just assume that everything growing in that patch is wild garlic, or edible
- It’s easy to identify the plant from the flowers so if in doubt pick leaves from flowering plants
- Don’t remove all the flowers because the plant needs them in order to self seed
- Both the flowers and leaves are edible
- A useful link for identification: How to Avoid Mistaking Lily-of-the-Valley for Ramsons
Wild garlic recipes
Here’s a few I like the look of:
- Wild garlic pesto (my recipe)
- Wild garlic risotto (tried this, very nice with some griddled or pan fried asparagus on top)
- Wild garlic tartlets (a bit naughty!)
- Wild garlic butter
- Courgette salad with feta and wild garlic
- Wild garlic and Lancashire cheese scones
ummm makes me feel hungry it looks delicious and so pretty with the white flowers.
Where I live wild garlic is called “ramps.” I look forward to cooking with it every spring. It is quite versatile!
I’ve never heard it called that before. I suppose the ram part could come from ‘ramsons’?