Wild garlic (Allium Ursinum – litteraly bear’s garlic because it’s known as the first food that bears would eat after leaving hibernation) is native and grow wild in European and Asian sub-humid forests.
The plant has a characteristic garlic-like scent (2) and prefers slighly acid soils. Wild garlic leaves, bulbs and flowers are edible (and tasty!). Like garlic, wild garlic has a positive effect on digestion and lowers the blood pressure. It also contains a lot of vitamin C!
If you live in the country side, the best option is probably to harvest some leaves from this wild herb during a walk in a local forest. If you live in a city, you still have two options to eat this delicious wild herb:
– Plant some wild garlic in your garden or on a balcony:
I picked a few bulbs during a walk in Connemara last year as a friend of mine had told me that it was quite easy to grow wild garlic – as long as the soil is humid and that you avoid bright sunlight. I must say that they did not like the move from Connemara to Dublin and that I did not see them for 10 months but here they are, they have finally adapted to their new life ;).
– If you want to use wild garlic but do not have any garden/balcony, note that many organic shops now sell dried wild garlic.
You can also harvest some leaves during a walk in a forest and dry them for when it is out of seasons. For further information on this technique please click here.
Ok so now that you have your wild garlic, how do you use it?
- Fresh or dry through a salad – wild garlic leaves taste like a combination of garlic and chive.
- As a spice: If you use it for a warm dish, don’t heat them up! Just add the leaves on the latest moment – that’s the best way to keep their flavour!
- Make a wild garlic soup
- Make a wild garlic pesto
Have you ever tried wild garlic? Do you know more wild garlic recipes?
(1) If you are interested in raw food and live in Ireland, I would strongly recommend Raw Gourmet Chef Veronica O’Reilly’s cooking classes. For further information please visit www.luisne.ie.
(2) There are several other plants that look quite similar to wild garlic e.g. lily-of-the-valley and are poisonous. So please, always rub the leaves between the fingers and make sure that it smells like garlic!