Wild Garlic – Foraging Tales

If you go down to the woods today ….

…you’ll probably find bluebells!  Lots and lots of bluebells.  And if you’re very lucky, you might just find wild garlic aswell.

Thanks to it’s distinctive smell, you can’t mistake it for anything else and so wild garlic is a great starting point for a novice forager.  Sometimes called Ramsons or bear garlic, wild garlic grows in damp, shady conditions.  It has broad leaves and delicate star shaped white flowers.  The whole plant is edible and smells very strongly of garlic!

Whenever you go out foraging wild garlic, there are a few things to remember.  One vitally important tip is to avoid areas that are popular place for dogs to wee, but the most important thing in terms of the environment is to go gently.

Pick your garlic from established patches only and don’t uproot any plants unless you have permission from the land owner.  The flavour is in the leaves and flowers anyway so removing the bulb will only reduce your supply next year.

While wild garlic is easy to identify, you sometimes get less friendly leaves such as lily of the valley or lords and ladies growing amongst them, so you should always pick your leaves individually as opposed to grabbing great big clumps.  In general it’s good practice to forage this way anyway – only take what you need and make sure you’re so delicate about it that the next person to walk along your path, cant even tell that a forager has been collecting.

If you’ve found a patch of wild garlic, collected some leaves, buds and flowers, you might be wondering what to do with it.

Here are a few ways to use up this wild, seasonal treat.

  • Wilt the leaves like spinach
  • Blend the leaves, buds and flowers with olive oil and a pinch of salt to make pesto
  • Garnish salads with the delicate flowers
  • Snip all parts of the plant into soups and stews
  • Pickle the buds
  • Make wild garlic butter

Enjoy it while it lasts because although it has a fairly long season compared to some wild crops, wild garlic very suddenly goes over.  Then you have a whole year to wait for your next taste.

Love Rachel ❤