Foraging for Wild Garlic
While the weather recently has been unseasonably cold and wet, this weekend has brought a little sunshine and returned us closer to what we’d expect this time of year. As I type this I’m sitting in the garden waiting for the flames to die down on the barbecue so that I can cook Mia’s favourite sausages, while the garden has had some long overdue TLC. The vegetable plot has been seeded, the raspberries can have been tied to string, and the newly planted apple tree has sprouted leaves.
Given the sunny weekend we headed out to a local woods for a walk (on the way back from taking Mia to her first ever film at the cinema – Puss in Boots). While there the smell of wild garlic was unmistakeable, and it wasn’t long before we were surrounded by it. It is easy to recognise anyway, but unmistakable when in flower and covering the entire forest floor. It’s certainly one of the foraging highlights of spring (being available as it is through the whole season) – you really don’t have to look far and when you find it, it grows in abundance year after year. Head for damp spots or along river banks for an almost guaranteed find.
The smell and flavour of wild garlic is sweeter and less harsh than that of farmed garlic. The bulbs are much smaller but the leaves more tender, therefore it is the leaves that are generally picked. They can be either eater raw (e.g. in salads) or cooked (try finely slicing the leaves and using them in a pasta sauce, omelette, etc), and like everything you forage taste all the better because they’re free. Once you find them you’ll not pay for garlic in spring again!