Wild garlic (ramsons) is prolific in woodland areas from April – June and is a favourite leaf of mine to forage as it is very tasty and easy to identify. The leaves are approx 20cms long and are very pungent when crushed. The white flowers that appear from May are also very garlicy and make a great garnish or addition to salads. (There are basic guidelines that need to be followed when foraging – see below).
Despite it’s strong aroma, wild garlic can be disappointing when cooked as the flavour is dissipated by heat. I find the best way to serve it cooked is simply to wash and roughly chop the leaves and then steam them for 3 – 4 minutes. The leaves are quite fibrous so best to cut across the grain.
However the 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.
Wild Garlic Husto Recipe
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.
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
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.
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