Wild garlic (ramsons) is prolific in woodland areas from March – June and is a favourite leaf of mine to forage as it is very tasty and easy to identify. (There are basic guidelines that need to be followed when foraging – see below).
The leaves are approx 20cms long and are very pungent when crushed. If you pick them young (approx 10cm long) they are less stringy.
Wild Garlic Buds and Flowers
The flower buds that appear from April/May are crunchy yet tender and are also very garlicy. You can also ferment the flower buds in a salt brine. The white flowers also have a strong flavour and make a great garnish or addition to salads
Wild Garlic Leaves
There are many ways to use the leaves, just like other greens. You can simply wash and roughly chop the leaves (the mature leaves are quite fibrous so best to cut across the grain) and then steam them for 3 – 4 minutes. You can also add them to soup at the last minute for full flavour.
Wild Garlic Pesto
Pesto is a versatile sauce for pasta but also for adding flavour to soups and casseroles. This BBC Food recipe with oil, cheese and pine nuts suggests you can also use cooked young nettle leaves instead of or in combination with the wild garlic.
Wild Garlic Husto Recipe (see photo above)
A guaranteed way to enjoy the full impact of wild garlic is to eat it raw – so I made up this recipe which is a cross between pesto and hummous, hence the name. You can also add wild garlic leaves, stalks and flowers to any salad.
2 tins of butter beans/ canneloni beans/ chickpeas
handful of grated/roughly chopped parmesan (or any hard cheese that needs using up)
handful of wild garlic (well washed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt/cayenne/black pepper to taste
Simply blitz all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the beans, wild garlic and cheese then add the oil and lemon juice. More oil or water can be added if mixture too thick – in fact all the quantities can be varied according to the flavour and consistency you like. Mine ended up with small pieces of parmesan which provided a hit of cheese flavour and a similar texture to pine nuts in pesto.
The husto can be used as a dip, spread on toast or added to stir fries, soups etc for extra flavour. It also freezes well.
More wild garlic recipes:
Thanks to Sara Jones in Lambourn for this lovely recipe. Please see here for more wild garlic recipes and tips on how to forage the
Do you love soufflé but despair of making it at a dinner party because it always collapses before your guests are ready to sit down?
This is a simple dish that makes a lovely light lunch or a nice addition to a picnic. It uses seasonal ingredients and the wild
The basic guidelines that need to be followed when foraging are: only pick what you are 100% sure is edible, don’t trample plants and don’t pick close to roads or paths (where plants might be contaminated by pollution, crop spray or dog wee).
I was taught by James Feaver from Hedgerow Harvest and highly recommend his courses.
For more information about wild garlic, where to find it and what to do with it visit Hedgerow Harvest/Wild Garlic