Foraging · Main Meals · Spring · Zero Waste-friendly

3 Ways With Wild Garlic

3 Ways with Wild Garlic.png

Foraging beginner? Check out my Foraging dos and don’ts guide to help you forage with confidence.

Wild Garlic – the route into foraging for many !

It’s hard to mistake the flowers and leaves of Allium ursinum, wild garlic or ramsons, for anything else. The leaves give off a very strong garlicky smell when crushed. It is very common in deciduous woodland and in damp hedges in early spring, and is an absolutely delicious edible green. Use sparingly however as the taste is strong – especially when the leaves are raw!

What’s edible? 

All parts of the plant – bulbs, leaves, buds and flowers. But, unless you’re on your own private land, you shouldn’t be digging up plants by their roots anyway, so stick with the aboveground parts (see my foraging guide here).

Tips for foraging wild garlic: 

Pick the leaves when they’re young – not more than a month after they appear (in March / April) and it’s best before the plant starts to flower. This is because as the season progresses and the plants get older, the leaves become more acrid and less fresh.

Wild Garlic & Nettle Soup

A word of caution when picking nettles (Urtica dioca): make sure you use gloves as otherwise the leaves will sting you! Only pick the top 6-8 leaves (these are the youngest, freshest growth) and pick before June and not after they start to flower – at this later stage, they will no longer be fresh and will have started to get a bit leggy. Don’t worry about eating this soup, the nettles lose their sting as soon as you cook them. Plus, nettles are packed with vitamin C and iron.

NettleSoup
Pictured here served with toast and red pepper hummus. 
Nettles
Nettles (Urtica dioca) interspersed with cleavers (Galium aparine), another common edible green in early-mid spring.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

around 3 cups of nettles (about 1 large tupperware or 1/2 a carrier bag’s worth), stems removed, washed and leaves chopped

1 small bunch of wild garlic leaves, washed and chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

6 cups of vegetable stock

salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until softened. Add the potatoes, stock, nettles and wild garlic leaves, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Transfer the soup to a blender to whizz smooth, or use a stick blender. Transfer back to the pot, season with salt and pepper and serve!

Wild Garlic Cashew Cheese

Note: for this recipe you require a high-speed blender or food processor.

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours or overnight, drained & rinsed

Juice 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, or to taste

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pinch turmeric

1 pinch sea dulse flakes (optional)

Method

Simply blend all of the ingredients together until smooth in a high speed blender or food processor, with 1 cup of water or vegetable stock.

Wild Garlic Pasta

Simply finely chop wild garlic leaves and wilt them into any pasta dish just before serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The garlicky taste becomes less strong once the leaves are cooked, giving a light delicious flavour to your dish.

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