Where my inlaws live, the public bridleway is lined with wild garlic on one side and dandelions on the other. It’s a foragers feast! Last year I picked a shopping bag full of wild garlic, brought it home, cooked with it and stuck a two plants in a pot. They looked as though they were dying, so I forgot about them and got on with the year. Cleaning out the garden this spring, I found four beautiful Ramson plants! I actually did a little happy dance, because I sometimes crave this stuff!
Wild garlic is simply delicious stuff. In the spring it has a much milder taste than late in the summer, and unlike it’s commercial counterpart, you eat the leaves and the flowers, not the bulb (although you could).
Identification: You can smell the garlic before you see the plant. It has broad, spearlike leaves, which smell like garlic, and pretty white, star-like flowers, in a rounded ball shape, which also smell like garlic. All parts are edible, the leaves preferably in spring.
Poisonous lookalikes: The leaves do look a lot like the Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous but doesn’t smell like garlic, and if it doesn’t smell like garlic, it isn’t wild garlic.
Uses: Basically, anything you could do with Basil, you can do with wild garlic. You can make a soup, add it to salads, stir fry with onion and olive oil as a vegetable (instead of spinach, for example), and add a few dandelion heads for colour.
Here’s on my favourite recipes for Wild Garlic: Wild Garlic and Cashew Pesto
(Pine nuts are seriously expensive. Cashews are a lot cheaper, and just as good.)
Wild Garlic And Cashew Pesto
Recipe type: Dip, Sauce,
- ½ cup loosely packed Ramsons/Wild Garlic
- ½ cup Cashew Nuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- Pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- If you're using a Thermomix®, place everything in the bowl, and blits on Turbo for 3 seconds and you're done.
- If you're not:
- Crush the cashew nuts
- Grate the Parmesan Cheese
- Place the salt into a pestle and mortar and add the wild garlic. Use the 'friction' of the salt to crush them together.
- Add the olive oil for a smooth paste, before adding the cheese and cashews and stirring in well.
- Pepper to taste.
Use as a spread on a rustic bread or as pesto for pasta. Keeps for around 3 days in the fridge. Top with edible Ramson flowers for prettiness.