Wild Garlic… Hunting for the Goodies!
Wild garlic an change your life! No we aren't kidding. Who doesn't love the big and juicy garlic found in supermarkets? It’s a great ingredient popular in many dishes and one that has great health benefits. However, if you are looking for something a little more quirky or something just a little more earthy, wild garlic might be your next new obsession. Wild garlic, or the Latin name Allium Ursinum, is also known as Ramsons. The Latin origin of the name comes from a brown bear’s taste for the bulbs and its habit for digging at the ground to get them. But don’t worry boar fans; the wild boar also likes them. Wild garlic is a relative of chives, but unlike bears, you aren't supposed to eat the roots. The leaves themselves can be a pungent and welcome addition to your cooking.
Wild garlic can be found in any deciduous area of woodlands or riverbanks. Sadly, it has a very short season that begins in early March and ends by the end of May. Thankfully, it is abundant. It grows with moist soils and prefers conditions that are slightly acidic. Wild garlic forming on a slope is good wild garlic because animals and human frequent these areas less.
If you keep the stems longer, it’ll be easier to keep. In the spring, wild garlic flowers and the mainland’s smell of garlic-kissed air. The flower stem is triangular in cross-section but the leaves have broad green leaves. The actual flower part is small, white, and the petals fan out in a delicate shape. Wild garlic leaves tend to be ripest before petals are seen. They start to lose their strong flavor.
Colonies of wild garlic can be found by the bluebell plant. It can also be mistaken for lily of the valley, which is a poisonous plant. Lily of the valley doesn't share the same characteristic garlic scent, so make sure your sniffer is in good working condition!
Now that you have wild garlic, what do you do with it? Well there are plenty of recipes and uses in the kitchen. If you like pesto as much as I do, you’ll be excited to know that wild garlic can act as a substitute for basil in pesto. Mix it in with your pine nuts, garlic, and add some olive oil. Or you can just add wild garlic to basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Super garlic pesto! Throw it into some pasta with Parmesan, or even add it to soup. One of my favorite recipes is vegetable soup with some added pesto.
Wild garlic can also be added to a fresh omelet. Cut up some of the leaves and scatter them over a cooking omelet. If eggs aren't your thing, you can add some of the cuttings to a fresh green salad. The leaves will give your salad some kick, but not leave you with bad breath afterwards. Now your salad has vitamin-D and the magical health effects of garlic- like cardiovascular benefits. If one of your friends doesn't like garlic, you might even be able to sneak it in there without them noticing! Want some garlic bread with your salad; sprinkle some of those leaves on top of that bread and it’ll look absolutely gorgeous.We hope you enjoy your wild garlic hunt!
After you find some wild garlic you are going to have to peel it. Watch this "how to peel garlic video" to make you life easier.