Wild garlic foraging – By: Kiss My Arts
I’m not an experienced forager by any means, but if there’s one ingredient I’m not hesitant to look for in the wild, it’s wild garlic. And right now happens to be the season for it… Wild garlic is easy to find – especially in ancient woodland – and offers a safe entry into the world of foraging. There’s nothing really similar to confuse it with – unlike, for example, when you’re out to find mushrooms and first need to learn to distinguish between species such as the edible horse mushroom and the highly toxic ‘destroying angel’. (What’s in a name, eh?)
Wild garlic can easily be identified by its long, slim leaves and the unmistakable garlic smell that usually lets you know where to look before you even see a single plant. When in bloom – usually between April and June – you can also recognise wild garlic by its white star-shaped flowers.
Just remember that, when picking in the wild, it’s best to cut the leaves with a knife and not tear out the bulbs. If you pick just one-third of the plant and leave two-thirds – a general rule that applies to all foraging – you won’t do any lasting harm, and the plant can just regrow. When I harvested a few handfuls in our nearby woods, I decided to turn the aromatic leaves into this fresh green pesto.
You will need:
- a bunch of wild garlic (about 100g), washed and roughly chopped
- 50g pine nuts or walnuts
- 50g grated parmesan cheese
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- optional: a handful of chopped parsley
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor (or, if you don’t have one, a hand blender will work just as well), and blitz into a smooth paste. Mix with your favourite pasta, use as a dip, to liven up your mash, or to make a crispy bruschetta. Just make sure your company eats some as well, as it makes your breath smell slightly pungent. No wonder it’s also called ‘devil’s garlic’!