Wild garlic is the most seasonal of seasonal produce usually available for just a few weeks around Easter time. Buckinghamshire is famously not famous for wild garlic but after a quick search and chat with a forager in the know, an area a couple of miles from Sarah’s house in Milton Keynes was found and a perfect opportunity for a lockdown outdoor activity.
Checking the Countryfile guide first to ensure foraging was done responsibly she managed to bring back as much as would fit in the bike basket which left George the fun task of what to do with it.
As previously mentioned, wild garlic is not available all year round but there are plenty of ways to enjoy its delicate flavour and health benefits all year around.
Perfect for salad dressings or in sauces, and will last for a few weeks or can be frozen. Blanch* your wild garlic leaves, wizz in a food processor and add equal parts good quality oil, then pass through a fine sieve.
Drizzled over a white fish such as a seabass or seabream combined with roasted tomatoes and new potatoes (or even better, Jersey royals in June)
The oil can also be used to make mayonnaise: check out this Great British Chef’s recipe to see how.
Dehydrating as a preserving method is great because once the moisture is removed not only is the shelf life long but the flavour intensified, therefore not much is needed to pack a punch.
You do not need a dehydrator for this all you need is an oven on 50 degrees. In the industry this is something we might do overnight and if you have an electric oven you can do this if you feel comfortable doing so.
Once dehydrated blitz down into a fine powder in a food processor and store in an airtight container.
Uses for the powder
- Seasoning meat or vegetables
- Mix in with eggs
- Incorporate into bread flour to make a subtle garlic bread
Blanch and freeze to use in the future. Similar to spinach wild garlic wilts down so blanch* and either freeze into ice trays or small balls.
*to blanch your leaves, place in boiling salted water for 10 seconds, remove and leave on the side a clean t-towel to dry
Pickle the buds and use in salads or in a buttery sauce for a light white fish.
Standard pickle recipe
1 part water
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar
Wild garlic pesto makes a great pesto, perfect for pasta and salads and will last about two weeks in the fridge. There are plenty of recipes to follow to make the pesto, with standard pine nuts, parmesan (or vegan alternative) and lemon juice.
For a lovely, quick weekday spring dish, add your pesto to cooked gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, artichoke and roasted chicken breast. If you have a bit more time on your hands and feeling braver, try making the gnocchi yourself, see the video by Gennaro on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel to see how:-
Butter will last for weeks in the fridge (you could also freeze) and is really very versatile.
Finely chop your garlic leaves and add to slightly softened butter with a touch of salt.
The “chef” way to then store it would be as a log**, this is so you can create small portions at a time easily with a sharp knife, but you could store in a tub or a jar.
This butter then can be used on steaks, in garlic bread or Chef George’s favourite…the mighty chicken Kiev,
** video on how to make a compound butter
Add the flowers to your scrambled eggs
Pimp your pizza – add leaves to a shop bought or homemade pizza before you cook or add flowers to the top after you have cooked.
Substitute any of your favourite spinach recipes with wild garlic such as;
Sweet potato fritters
Filo pie filling
BBQ Marinade – blend (Nutribullet or similar) chopped wild garlic, oil, lemon and green chilli to make a marinade perfect for chicken or even to be served on steak after cooked.
Foraging should be done responsibly and with permission of the land owner. Read Countryfile’s guide below to make sure you are following the rules and if in doubt always follow the Countryside Code!
Have you ever used Wild Garlic in a recipe or have you tried it in a dish in a restaurant? Let us know if you have and what you thought via Inspiresdining on Facebook or @inspires_dining on instagram.