Strutting its stuff on the catwalk this week is Wild Garlic, one of the best scents of Spring. It is abundant, tasty and there will be a patch to sniff out near you this April.
If you are new to foraging wild garlic is a great place to start, as it’s very easy to identify, very prolific and delicious. What better way to add purpose to a walk and get the kids involved over the Easter Holidays.
Watch Duncans one minute video on how to forage Wild Garlic and try his simple Wild Garlic Vinegar recipe to make you feel like a Domestic God. It is goes perfectly with seasonal produce from asparagus to jersey royals and compliments fresh eggs and chicken really well.
Where to Find Wild Garlic
The plant, native to Britain, is also known as Bear leek, Bear’s garlic, Broad-leaved garlic, Buckrams, Ramsons, Wood garlic and can grow to heights of between 45 and 50 cm.
We only pick a few leaves from each plant and never the bulb. It's sword-shaped, silky, moist leaves resemble those of Lily of the Valley so make sure you rub the leave between your fingers to check it realises that pungent garlic smell.
Watch Duncan's quick video to give you top tips on where to find it.
Wild Garlic is Free and Easy To Find - but How Do They Taste?
It is a member of the Allium family which is the Latin world for garlic. The early leaves appear in March and have a combination of sweetness and astringency that makes leeks, onions, chives and shallots so useful in the kitchen.
Wild Garlic hits its peak in April and you will find tight white buds decorating the garlic. From May to June the pretty wild flowers start to open in abundance it is a sign that the Garlic leaves have started to turn bitter. Use the potent garlic flowers to add a punch to salads and soups.
They are so versatile you can quickly blanche them or wilt them in Garlic Oil they make a garlicky alternative to spinach. However like spinach they perform the same disappearing trick of making a full bag or basket of it disappear into what looks like a very tight serving for two!
Duncan's Four Favourite things about Wild Garlic
- In the 18th century, French citizens reported protection from the plague if they drank garlic vinegar, and garlic was administered as an antiseptic poultice during the first World War. By the end of the 19th century, garlic was the most widely used medical plant in the world. Its anti-bacterial properties were proven scientifically by Louis Pasteur in 1858.
- It is free and once you know what to look like you will find it flourishing everywhere. It always makes us feel like naughty children when we find it and pick nature's bounty.
- If you are new to foraging, wild garlic is a great place to start, as it’s easy to identify, prolific and delicious.
- A 2013 study out of Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid University published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, revealed that garlic was at least as effective as the powerful blood pressure lowering medication atenolol for decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants who’d been diagnosed with essential hypertension.
Duncans' Wild Garlic Oil
Duncan has been focused on how to preserve seasonal produce so we can use it all year round. It feels great to be able to take something we have foraged on a walk and turn it into a kitchen staple. You can watch the video on how to preserve it for the year it here.
What you need to make it
- Vegetable Oil
- Add it to a freshly tossed salad🥗
- Get the kids involved making them this half term. It is a great way for them to get inventive in the kitchen
- Pimp it up further with some cheese melted on top.
Now put your feet up and enjoy it and feel like the kitchen whizz that you are! What not share a picture in the Food Hive?
Not a member? Join our free Facebook group the Food Hive and meet like-minded foodies and seasonal produce seekers in our collaborative fun space. It is the perfect space to share, ask for help, pick the brains of others and contribute your amazing ideas and recipes.
Wish you could try our food for yourself without doing the hard work? You are invited to Celebrate 100 years of Rupert the Bear this summer. Come with us on a magical adventure to the idylic countryside village of Nutwood, a stones throw from where the brave little bear was born in Canterbury, Garden of England. Gather your friends and book your dining spots today. They are flying out of the ballroom.