The Curious Peasant

at Peasant Publishing

Lost skills in cookery, craft, and culture.

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Wild Garlic is Back!



After the long and gloomy winter spring is springing and one of the most obvious signs of burgeoning life is the appearance of the wild garlic; the woods near me are full of it. The forest floor thickly covered with the fresh green of the lovely strap-shaped leaves. I can't resist picking handfuls of it and every time I walk the dog I have a carrier bag and a pair of scissors in my pocket. The only plant you could confuse wild garlic with is Lily of the Valley before it flowers. However, Lily of the Valley is now relatively rare, you won't see a woodland floor thickly covered with it, and, the big give away, Lily of the Valley doesn't smell of garlic!


I have read warnings online that you should "only pick one third of the leaves from each plant in order to conserve its strength and not kill it"! Much as I love wild garlic it is an incredibly vigorous and invasive plant. The woods near me used to be full of bluebells, wood anenome, primroses, coltsfoot, violets, dogs mercury and spurge at this time of year. The garlic however has wiped most of them out. It grows so thickly that everything else is smothered. So I say, pick as hard as you can, eat as much as you can and try to halt the inexorable tide and save our woodland wildflowers..........

If you are tempted to grow some wild garlic in your garden make sure it has a restricted root run, plant it in a container, and don't let it seed or it will get everywhere.

So far I have made nettle and wild garlic bread, wild garlic focaccia, wild garlic pesto and added wild garlic leaves to boiled cabbage.


Wild Garlic Pesto

A large handful of washed wild garlic leaves
A handful of flat leaved parsley
100g or thereabouts of a hard cheese - I use a supermarket parmesan like cheese - roughly chopped
Lemon Juice
Oil - Olive for flavour but Rape is nice too.
Salt and pepper

Put everything into a food processor and blitz until the pesto is the texture you like. Vary the quantities so that the flavour suits you.

Put into a jam jar, tapping it to get all the air bubbles out. Cover with a thin layer of oil. Sealed this will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Smooth the top and add a little more oil each time you use it.

Stir into pasta, dollop onto soups, spread on bruschetta, add to cream cheese for a dip. The possibilities go on.


photo credit: loop_oh via photopin