Wild Garlic Capers or “Antics”

When it’s warm enough to roll down the windows as I drive around the island and I smell the feint hint of garlic in the air, I know it’s wild garlic season and time for wild garlic capers. We’re pretty lucky to have a huge amount of wild garlic on the Island, so we can take as much as we’re going to need for the year and it won’t have made a jot of difference to what’s available.

wild garlic field

I think everyone who goes wild garlic picking for the first time picks way more than they need – and end up with wild garlic pesto in the freezer for the next six years! Fortunately a seasoned forager learns quickly how much to responsibly forage!

These are dead easy, and it’s quite hard to get it wrong. The most important tips for foraging wild garlic is to check every leaf. Daffodils, bluebells, lords and ladies and stinking iris all tend to grow in the same places as wild garlic, so if you’re just taking hands full, you could end up pretty sick. Please check every leaf. 

For this recipe the best tips are to not use metal implements and to make sure the lid of the jar you use is vinegar-proof (an old pickle jar is ideal). Also, pop some wax paper into the finished liquid to force the floating wild garlic down into the liquid.

Play around with your seasonings. Some recipes call for sugar, I don’t think its necessary. You can use different vinegars, which will, of course, change the flavour slightly. I use white spirit vinegar, pickling vinegar or apple cider vinegar, because I like to use the ‘leftover’ vinegar into a balsamic once all our wild garlic capers are finished.

Wild Garlic Capers

By the way, there’s a difference between three-cornered leek and wild garlic. (Narrower leaves, for a start!) but three-cornered leeks also have flower buds, so they work the same way!

Wild Garlic Capers or "Antics"
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Recipe type: Foraging
  • Wild Garlic Buds
  • Pickling Vinegar to cover
  • Pink Peppercorns
  • Bay Leaf (optional)
  1. Sterilise a jar and a vinegar-proof lid to fit your wild garlic buds.
  2. Pack the buds tightly into the jar. Heat the vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaf gently in a pan (don't use aluminium, the vinegar can react to it.
  3. Bring to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes and then remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the hot, spiced vinegar over the buds to cover them, leaving about a cm space from the top of the jar.
  5. Leave for 5 mins to allow the vinegar to start to penetrate the buds and for the liquid level to settle. Use a non-metal spoon to stir the buds, removing any air bubbles.
  6. I always add some waxed paper to the jar to force the buds, which will initially float, under the liquid.
  7. Close while still warm (so that it seals the jar) and leave for a minimum of two weeks. We've tend to eat the last of the previous year's while the new batch is pickling.
  8. Recommended with brie or blue cheese and crackers.


Blackberry Jam ( Blackberry Jelly)

Blackberry Jam Blackberry JellyIt’s been a beautiful summer, and I’ve focused largely on my children, and very little on anything else, including these pages. I’ve often taken a photo of things, thinking I’d publish them when I have a moment, and that moment has just never come, and here we are, just in time for autumn.

Nature is a beautiful thing though, and knowing full well that the barren months of winter are coming, Autumn blesses us with a bountiful harvest of apples, blackberries, rosehips, damsons and more. My children and I have spent time foraging in our local area, trying to take advantage of the free fruit as much as we can. Over the next few days, I’ll share some of the results of our foraged free food with you.

Today’s recipe is a bit of a cheat: Blackberry Jam. It’s a cheat because I used Jam Sugar with added pectin rather than making my own. We were lucky, I think and got the berries at just the right time, as they were sweet, full of juice and just delicious.

I use a jam strainer to catch all the seeds and skins, leaving me with a beautiful clear jam.

Blackberry Jam
Prep time
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The flavour of this jam depends a lot on the blackberries you use. We picked plump, juicy, ripe blackberries to make a sweet, delicious jam for toast, home made doughnuts and more.
Recipe type: Condiments
Serves: 250ml
  • 250g (9oz)fresh blackberries
  • 250g (9oz) jam sugar
  • 2tbs lemon juice (if from a bottle)/ juice from ½ lemon if using fresh lemon
  1. (If you're using a stove to make jam, you'll need a sugar thermometer to check when your mixture is at 100C/212F. If you're using a breadmachine with a jam function, follow manufacturer instructions. For a Thermomix®, cook at 100 degrees at speed 2. )
  2. Place all ingredients in bowl and cook for 40 minutes at 100C or 212F.
  3. To check whether your jam has set, tilt the bowl slightly, being careful not to spill boiled sugar! Check to see whether a slight gel forms on top. If not, return to heat for five minute intervals. Your external temperature will affect how long your jam has to boil.
  4. It shouldn't take over 50 minutes, but if it does, turn the heat up as high as possible (watching it doesn't burn) for 3 minutes.
  5. Pour jam into sterilised jars and leave overnight to cool.