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Features // Blog

How to Cook with Wild Garlic

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Mar 29, 2022
7 minutes to read

For food lovers, stumbling upon a patch of woodland carpeted with wild garlic is akin to discovering buried treasure. Wild garlic is in season from March late May, so now’s the ideal time to start searching for it!

Read on for tips on how to forage for wild garlic, plus the best recipes for making the most of your seasonal haul, from wild garlic pesto to delicious wild garlic potato salad

How to find wild garlic

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Wild garlic can be found in most deciduous woodland areas in Britain and is easily identifiable by its pointed green leaf growing on a single stem. Where one plant grows, others most usually follow. There’s nothing quite like discovering a sea of green leaves and the hit of their potent aroma!

It grows in damp woods, and shady places, and the smell is overwhelming. The leaves are similar to the young leaves of ‘lords and ladies’ (cuckoo-pint) and lily-of-the-valley, both of which are toxic, but there is no worry about confusion because the ramps leaves, when bruised, smell of garlic. The flowers are white, as are lily-of-the-valley, but the flowers are star- not bell-shaped, and hang in a dome of small umbels.

How to Pick Wild Garlic

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Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, Wild by Tart

“The first shoots of wild garlic emerge from the wetter areas of the woodland floor in the early spring sunshine, before the trees above have had a chance to shade out everything that grows beneath. By May the shaded woodland floor is a shifting patchwork quilt of white wild garlic flowers and the bluebells. The delicate newer leaves are the ones to pick, carefully so as not dislodge the whole plant from its place.”

How to Preserve Wild Garlic

Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Founder of Bettina’s Kitchen

“We collect our wild garlic from Hampstead Heath. I make it into a pesto and keep it in the fridge, or blend it with oil and freeze it in ice cubes trays. That way if I need a hit of flavour for a soup or stew, these are ready for me at any given time. I also sometimes dry the leaves in my mini dehydrator and make a green powder that keeps very well in an air-tight container. The powder can be stirred into a mayonnaise to make a wild garlic aioli as well as dressings and creams”

6 AMAZING WILD GARLIC RECIPES

Clodagh McKenna’s Wild Garlic Tagliatelle with Goat’s Cheese

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This light and fragrant dish just sings of spring and is a wonderful way to use up wild garlic. During the remainder of the year, you could simply replace the wild garlic with other fresh herbs that are in season, such as basil, mint or oregano

Leek, Chard & Tarragon Soup with Wild Garlic Pesto

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It is a challenge to get the flavour of wild garlic into a soup like this as the flavour does disappear with heat – the solution is to stir in a delicious homemade pesto just before serving.

Wild Garlic Potato Salad

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Fresh wild garlic plus a drizzle of homemade wild garlic oil transform a simple potato salad dish into something truly memorable

Wild Garlic Oatcakes

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These mouthwatering homemade oatcakes are surprisingly easy to make. Once you’ve got to grips with the method, you can adapt the recipe to swap the wild garlic for seeds or nuts in the autumn.

Wild Garlic & Mustard Oil Flatbreads

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The wild garlic in these flatbreads is optional but do try to track some down if you can as the flavour is fantastic. This goes great with a nice fiery curry.

Linguine with Wild Garlic Pesto

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Chef Hayden Groves shows you a super simple way to enjoy the UK’s annual wild garlic harvest - by making a lip-smacking pesto

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