I already wrote a lot about how growing up in Slovenia shaped my connection to nature and its seasons. People’s lives here are incredibly intertwined with nature, its ever changing seasons and wild plants. A day spent outdoors is a day well spent, they say. When spring arrived I did what Slovenians do – I went foraging for wild garlic.
Wild garlic is one of the most nutritious plants. It grows abundantly every spring and foraging for this wild edible is very quick and easy – you can pick wild garlic on your daily walk.
How to Find Wild Garlic
Foraging wild garlic is easy once you learn how to identify it. The best time to forage for wild garlic in the northern hemisphere is between March to July. Around May time the flower buds will start growing and then turn into white flowers. You can forage for leaves, buds and flowers, and use them in lots of different ways.
How to Identify Wild Garlic leaves
Wild garlic grows in the forest – usually in wet areas, close to a river or a stream. The plant likes moist soil and a shady woodland environment. Wild garlic leaves are of vibrant green colour and they are long and pointed with a smooth edge. The leaves grow separately, one by one, and are of strong green colour. The stem is white and it ends in a bulb. The leaves smell of garlic when you crush them together.
Which part of the plant can you eat?
All parts of wild garlic are edible – the leaves are the most common, but you can also eat the flower buds, flowers, seed heads and even the bulbs.
Watch a short video of how to hunt for wild garlic, how to identify the plant and how to make a delicious pesto! 🙂
What Dishes Can You Make
You can make so many different dishes you can prepare with wild garlic. You can make pesto, hummus, butter, soups, use it as a side dish, in sauces, or in an omelette.
From flower buds you can make a nice addition to any dish – you can grill them, bake them, fry them, make them in a sauce, as a side dish, or pickle them.
The list goes on, and you can let your imagination go wild!
The Benefits of Eating Wild Garlic
Wild garlic can be eaten to help fight off coughs and colds. Traditionally, wild garlic was a widely used medicinal herb used to treat ailments such as toothache, sore eyes, or warts to measles, mumps or rheumatism. Modern research suggests that, like garlic, eating wild garlic may help to reduce blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Always be sure you can positively identify any plant before you pick it, and never eat any plant you are unsure of. When foraging, ensure you leave plenty for wildlife.
Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe
250g Wild garlic leaves
80g Pine nuts (you can use walnuts or peanuts)
80ml Olive oil
Salt (½ of teaspoon)
First roast the pine nuts in a pan, or use roasted peanuts like I did.
Add pine nuts and grated parmigiano into a food processor.
Chop the leaves into small pieces and add to the food processor.
Add olive oil, salt & pepper to the food processor and mix until smooth.
Put the pesto in glass containers and use as bread spreads, with pasta and any kind of sauce.
I love this pesto 🙂 Bon apetit!
Do you forage for wild garlic? How do you use it in your cooking?
Let me know in the comments 🙂
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- FORAGING WILD GARLIC – How to Find Wild Garlic
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- How to Forage Dandelion Greens & How to Make a Spring Salad with Wild Edible Flowers