Hey pesto...it's wild garlic season

Hey pesto…it’s wild garlic season

Hey pesto…its wild garlic season

Bluebells are a fantastic reason for a woodland walk in April and May but it’s wild garlic that pulls me to the woods at this time of the year. It’s common to find a patch near bluebells, you might smell the garlic aroma before you see the carpet of plants.

So what are you looking for? Wild garlic leaves are a wider version of bluebell leaves, when in flower the full white bloom towers above the leaves. The flowers were not quite out when we went this weekend so sadly I only have a photo of the bud to share.

It’s a great challenge to try and find a patch but once you have I promise you will be back time and time again. I’ve now trained Max to sniff out a secret patch of wild garlic.

Max smelling wild garlic

So what can you eat? You can eat the whole plant, the roots and flowers have the strongest flavour as where the leaves offer a mild garlic taste.

You can use wild garlic as you do chives to flavour salads but it has many more possibilities. My favourite recipes include a walnut and wild garlic pesto, a really garlicky marinade for chicken or a wild garlic butter which is wonderful on toast or melted on seasonal vegetables like asparagus, new potatoes or roasted beetroot.

Walnut and wild garlic pesto:

Walnuts give a real earthiness to pesto and in this case stands up well against the bolder garlic flavour. You could use pine nuts or almonds if you don’t have walnuts to hand.

Ingredients:

  • Large bunch of wild garlic, you can include the flowers
  • 75g finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 75g walnuts
  • 125ml to 150ml Good quality oil, I used cold pressed rapeseed oil but you could use olive oil
  • Large pinch of Sea Salt

1. Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat. Stir regularly to ensure they don’t burn. When they are lightly browned tip them onto a plate to cool.

2. Finely grate the parmesan cheese

3. Add the whole bunch of wild garlic, grated parmesan and cooled walnuts to a food processor. Whizz until finely chopped.

4. Now add a large pinch of sea salt and pour in the oil until the pesto it has the desired consistency.

5. Transfer to a clear jar or container, top with a little oil and keep in the fridge. The pesto will last for up to 2 weeks if you keep the oil topped up.

Wild Garlic Butter:

This butter is super easy and super versatile:
– spread on toast for quick garlic bread
– toss season vegetables such as asparagus, new potatoes, beans
– Stuff chicken breasts or place a knob on panfried fish…the list goes on…

Ingredients

  • 250g Salted butter at room temperature
  • Large handful of wild garlic leaves, you can include the flowers

1. Add the wild garlic to a food processor, whizz until finally chopped.

2. Cube the butter and add to the food processor. Now blend until you have a smooth green butter.

3. Store in a container in the fridge. Alternatively roll little sausages of the butter in grease proof paper and freeze it for another day.

Happy foraging!

Gemma Chapple & MaxGemma & Max

The baker. Some may say a jumping bean…. definitely never short on energy. Gemma loves to cook and can normally be found whipping up a culinary delight in the kitchen or deep in the veg patch.

1 Comment

  1. Pete Donnelly 3 years ago

    Hi Gemma,

    Huge thanks for the Wild Garlic recipes! Came in very handy on our recent camping holiday when we were surrounded by fields of wild garlic. Sarah remembered seeing something about cooking wtih wild garlic on your blog. Our biggest challenge was finding a decent mobile signal, so we could access your blog! Really tasty!

    Pete

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