by Cindy Guilbert
As a child living surrounded by lanes and fields we used to go picking flowers … primroses, violets, daffodils … and as we walked we would always pick stinking onions and munch away on them.
it was many years later that I learned that they were in fact one of the many wild garlic varieties, Allium Triquetrum. Two other varieties are Allium Ursinum, whose glossy spear-like leaves and white flowers resemble Lily of the Valley, and Allium Pyrenaicum, whose tall stems and mauve ball clusters of flowers are also often seen in the wild.
This plant is completely edible from the white bell-like flowers, that have a green stripe running down each petal, to the long bluebell type leaves and the bulb itself.
These varieties, along with other commonly-found varieties lurking in woods, hedgerows, lanes and fields, are free and very tasty. You will often smell them before you spot them, the unmissable fragrance will reassure you that it is wild garlic.
Garlic is a great ally to our health. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antibiotic, it aids in reducing high blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also helps to balance gut flora and a garlic poultice can aid knee injuries too.
it really is such a versatile little plant.
BEWARE. Wild garlic is toxic to both dogs and cats
How to use wild garlic
So how to use this wondrous plant? Wild garlic can be used in the same way as cultivated garlic, with the bulbs offering a super fresh alternative to its commercially grown cousin. The flowers and chopped leaves also make a great addition to salad or they can be used as a tasty and pungent garnish.
The season for wild garlic is very short so why not preserve it a little longer by making a yummy pesto?
Wild Garlic Pesto
Crush some or all of the plant
Toasted pine nuts
Mix into a smooth paste.
Use immediately or store in a sterilised jar and for extra long storage put the full jars in a pan and boil like you would a jam.
When making meals from your homemade pesto add it in near the end of the cooking time to preserve its delicious fresh flavour.
I’m pretty sure it is also effective at warding off vampires!!!
Enjoy your foraging and the Bounty of Mother Nature!