Wild about Wild Garlic

snail on wild garlic

You are not the only one who loves Wild Garlic!

If you go down to the woods today…….. you may be lucky enough to hap across an oasis of pretty green and white foliage. Wild garlic or Ransoms, to give you their official name, grow in dappled shaded woodland areas. A member of the Allium family the wild garlic leaf is broad, tender and vibrantly green. The flower, which is also edible, is a cluster of pretty star shaped white petals.  An olfactory identification (they smell strongly of garlic) will alert you to their presence often long before you see them.  The season for  Wild garlic begins in early spring and often you will find them interspersed with wild bluebells. If we have warm weather they can arrive as early as March and they are good until mid May when the odour gets a bit strong and the leaves lose their tenderness.

wild garlic with flower buds in wood

Wild Garlic with flowers in bud

 

Be careful where you pick them, you will need to stray away from dog walker paths! Pick only the tender leaves and take care to sort through your harvest carefully to remove any weeds you may inadvertently have pulled.  To clean, first pick off and rehome anybody else who loves the taste (see picture)!  Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in a tablespoon of salt. Soak the leaves well for about half an hour,  this should clean and sterilise them pretty well. Drain, pat dry and use in salads, stir fry’s, chopped over soups, or make these delicious pesto’s to serve with pasta, dollop onto baked tomatoes, or mix with cheese for a gloriously indulgent  Tare and Share cheesy Pull Bread.

Two Wild Garlic pesto’s

jars of wild garlic pesto

Two Wild Garlic Pesto’s

 

The quantities below can be dealt with using a stick blender. If your food processor has only a large bowl, then double the quantities.

Almond and Parmesan Pesto

Ingredients

Makes 200ml

50g (about 30 leaves) fresh Wild garlic

50g blanched almonds, chopped

120ml mild olive oil

30ml extra virgin olive oil

30g parmesan cheese, finely grated

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ fresh lemon

Salt to taste

Method

Wash the wild garlic leaves under cold running water and remove any bits to stray grass or weed. Fill a large bowl with cold fresh water and stir in 2 teaspoon salt. Soak the garlic leaves in the salty water for 10-15 minutes, then remove and dry them off in a clean tea towel.

Slice the wild garlic leaves and layer them with the nuts in the jug of a blender (I use a stick blender for this quantity). Pour over the olive oil and blitz to form a thick paste. You may need 30-50 ml more oil to achieve this.

Add the extra virgin olive oil, the parmesan cheese and squeeze the juice from the quarter lemon. Blitz again to mix. adjust the seasoning with several twists of black pepper and a pinch or two of salt. Blitz one final time.

Store in a clean 200ml jar in the fridge.

wild garlic baked tomatoes

Wild Garlic Pesto dolloped on cut tomatoes ready for baking

Wild garlic Pesto with toasted hazelnut and smoked Cumberland cheese

The quantities below can be dealt with using a stick blender. If your food processor has only a large bowl, then double the quantities.

Ingredients

Make 200ml

50g (about 30 leaves) fresh wild garlic

50g whole hazelnuts (skin on)

170ml milk olive oil

30ml (1 tablespoon) hazelnut oil

50g apple wood smoked cheddar

¼ lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Method

Wash the wild garlic leaves under cold running water and remove any bits to stray grass or weed. Fill a large bowl with cold fresh water and stir in 2 teaspoon salt. Soak the garlic leaves in the salty water for 10-15 minutes, then remove and dry them off in a clean tea towel.

Put the nuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven set at 180c/gas 5 for ten or so minutes. the skins will be falling away and the nuts lightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool before roughly chopping.

Slice the wild garlic leaves and layer them with the nuts in the jug of a blender (I use a stick blender for this quantity). Pour over the olive oil and blitz to form a thick paste. You may need 30-50 ml more oil to achieve this.

Add the hazelnut oil and the grated cheese and blitz to mix. squeeze in the juice from the quarter lemon and season with salt and a few twists of pepper. Blitz one final time.

Store in a clean 200-250ml jar in the fridge.

(Recipe for Tare and Share Cheesey Pull Bread posting next Wednesday)

hand taking a slice of tare and share pull bread

Very moreish! Tare and Share cheesy pull bread with wild garlic pesto

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