Today we have a lovely guest blog from my foraging writer friend from Pembrokeshire, Julia Horton-Powdrill. I know I have written about wild garlic before, but its arrival every spring is always so wonderful that I don’t think there’s any harm revisiting it…
“I know everyone is probably already fed up with wild garlic otherwise known as ramsons (allium ursinum), but it is one of the most available and exciting ingredients around at the moment in Pembrokeshire – and Devon! To preserve wild garlic put 500g clean dry wild garlic leaves in a food processor with 500ml olive oil and blitz. Store in lidded jars in your fridge where it will last for ages (I have some from last year which I am still using). Every time I take some out I top up the jar with a little more olive oil. This garlic flavoured oil is useful on its own to drizzle a little emerald colour onto salads, soups, etc.
Remember that you can eat the whole plant, the bulbs, flowers, seeds and stem as well as the leaves and if any of you are suffering from vampire problems, wild garlic will keep them away! Of course if you eat lots of it there is the distinct possibility that it will keep everyone else away too….
Wild Garlic has been used to treat asthma and other respiratory disorders and during the Middle Ages the herb was instrumental in treating cholera and in preventing the plague. Fresh juice from the small bulbs was also an important wound dressing and they were chewed to aid breathing and to treat digestion and intestinal gas.
This altogether stinky plant has regained popularity and it is always wonderful to see the bright green leaves coming through to herald the onset of spring. As the season wears on these plants, which favour damp and woody areas, produce beautiful white star-like flowers and can often carpet a woodland floor along with the bluebell. Together they make a wonderful sight although the smell of garlic overpowers everything else!”
Here’s a lovely veggie recipe for you to try – a delicious aubergine dip. Happy foraging!
BABA GHANOUSH WITH WILD GARLIC
- 1 aubergine
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons wild garlic preserved in olive oil
- Preheat oven to 200ºC/Gas mark 6. Lightly grease a baking tray.
- Cut aubergine in half and place cut-side down on oiled baking sheet. Roast it for approximately 30 minutes or until soft.
- Cool slightly then scoop out flesh into food processor along with other ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in fridge before serving.