When it comes to foraging, the season never ends! There are always new and interesting plants to be found throughout the whole the year. One of this season’s most interesting is the ‘three-cornered leek’, so-called for its unique cross section which resembles the keel of a ship.
The three-cornered leek, also known as “bear’s garlic”, can be identified by its glossy-green leaves, parallel veins, acutely pointed leaf tips and a prominently ridged mid vein. After flowering season which occurs in April and May, they are also identifiable by their delicate white flowers. Whilst at first glance these wild leeks may look like a grass of some kind, you can easily confirm that you have the right plant by the distinct garlic smell emitted upon crushing the leaves of the plant.
Picking and Storing
When foraging for three-cornered leeks place your hand to the bottom of the leek, next to the base, and give it a firm shake to release the root, as these vegetables tend to be firmly rooted to the ground. After foraging, three-cornered leeks can be stored for up to six months.
As every part of the three-cornered leek is edible and can be used in cooking, these vegetables are extremely versatile. The delicate flavour is similar to garlic. In fact, it is the closest species to cultivated garlic that can be found in the wild. Recipes include soups and salads, but they can also be thinly sliced and added to mashed potatoes, or blended with some pine nuts, sunflower seeds and olive oil for a tasty dip or salad dressing. Finally, the delicate flower of the leek makes for an exquisite, edible garnish on any number of dishes.