Wild garlic is a bulbous, perennial plant which thrives in damp woodlands, it’s best to harvest the plant when it’s half way through the season (from early March to end of July) as the leaves are bigger and the flowers are in full bloom. We have already been busy this month, foraging in a local forest where this fantastic plant grows in abundance and is completely untouched. When in season we use it daily in The Cloth Ear for pesto and dressings to bring a beautiful mild and fresh garlic flavour.
Equipment Needed - Sharp kitchen knife or a pair of house hold scissors, wooden basket or a plastic bag, pair of rubber gloves
Picking - Remember when picking wild garlic to not disturb the bulb of the plant as this will only stop it from growing the year after. All of the wild garlic plat is edible from the stalks of the flowers to the bright green leaves when harvesting cut the leaves as close to the ground as possible trying not to damage them.
Where To Find - Wild garlic plants are often found in woodlands also very close to rivers. Wild garlic can be found throughout Northern Ireland in early March to end of July depending on the weather
How To Prepare - Fill a sink with cold water; once full, separate the wild garlic leaves from any other plants you may have picked up inadvertently and place into the water. Keep the white flowers from the wild garlic wash separately as these can be used as an elegant garnish for any dish Once the leaves are thoroughly washed, put into a colander to drain and pat dry with a cloth. Wild garlic is a very versatile plant as it can be used to make a variety of dishes. From vibrant green garlic butter to pesto, and soups; it is also good to add to a nice spring salad. Remember when cooking, to add at the last minute as you don’t want to dull its bright green colour.
Nutritional Value - Wild garlic has high levels of folic acid, an essential B vitamin, and has positive benefits on the digestive system. Wild garlic also acts as a pre-biotic, encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria. This is vital if you suffer from diabetes, have been on a course of antibiotics or have a weakened immune system. It also has mild antibacterial properties to keep the colds at bay!
Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe
80 grams washed wild garlic
50 grams finely grated pecorino
50ml extra virgin olive oil
50 grams toasted hazelnut
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a liquidiser and pulse until the mixture is coarsely bound. Season with black pepper and sea salt