How to Forage for Wild Garlic & Make Pesto With Your Pickings

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How to forage for wild garlic

It’s wild garlic season! It has been for a few weeks and although technically you can find this delicious accompaniment for another couple of months, I’ve often found it much harder to track down by the end of May.

Wild garlic can be found in woodlands, on damp soil and slopes, and often near roots. It’s easy to spot, and smell, just keep your nostrils tuned into any garlicky wafts!

Here are a few tips when foraging for wild garlic in the UK:

  • Select leaves from close to the ground and make sure you leave the bulbs in the soil (for next year)
  • Pick healthy leaves that are long and bright green.
  • You can pick (and eat) the white flowers – they are a great addition to salads.
  • Avoid any areas that may have been trampled on or where dogs are aplenty!
  • If you’re not sure, simply crush the wild garlic leaves in your hand. If it smells like garlic, Bob’s your uncle!
  • Best flavour is while they are young, so April and May. If you spot white flowers they plant is almost near the end of its best.
  • Always follow sustainable foraging guidelines

 

Health benefits

A great spring tonic due to its blood-purifying properties. It is also thought to lower cholesterol and blood-pressure, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

 

Wild Garlic Pesto

This spring I’ve been enjoying this wild garlic pesto as a topping to baked sweet potato but it’s also really tasty stir-fried with a little lemon juice. The below recipe is great stirred through pasta, on bruschetta’s, in risottos, soups or as a dressing to salads.

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Wild Garlic Pesto – Tea Towel by Softer + Wild

Wild Garlic Pesto

Makes a huge jar, as pictured. I usually freeze half of this amount. The rest will keep for 1 week in the fridge. Or if you’d like to just make enough for one meal (serving four) I’d suggest doing either a half of this recipe and then you’ll be left with a little for the fridge too.

 

200g wild garlic

100g Parmesan finely grated

50g hazelnuts, skinned

50g toasted pine nuts

Half a lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper

Good quality olive oil

 

Method

  • If you’ve foraged your wild garlic, make sure you thoroughly wash it and place in a food processor until it’s broken up.
  • Then add the Parmesan (or omit this if you’re vegan, it’s not essential and actually vegan cheese usually takes away from the flavour)
  • Add your pine nuts and hazelnuts.
  • While you’re blitzing the nuts, slowly add some olive oil and add enough to you preferred texture (you can always thin out with more olive oil later to make dressings)
  • Add sea salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste.

 

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