Thursday, 28 April 2016
So my plan of trying to write at least one blog post a month this year seems to be slipping but I’m getting this one in quick before April disappears! And I had better get this out there quick as I partook in a little foraging recently, collecting handfuls of sweetly pungent bundles of wild garlic during a stroll in a local woodland. But wild garlic season doesn’t last forever so you may have to be a little more proactive than myself if you also want to foray into the world of foraging. Wild garlic is a great place to start though, as although this green leafy plant can sometimes be mistaken for lily of the valley (a toxic plant) on looks alone, it is pretty distinctive when it comes to aroma. Just walking through the local woods my nostrils realised I was surrounded by the stuff before I had spotted the garlic plants. So the best way to identify this plant is to pick a leaf and rub it between your fingers to release the smell of garlic, although a slightly more thorough guide on identification can be found here.
Now onto how to use it. There are lots of things you can use wild garlic for, including in salads, omelettes, risottos, savoury muffins, pasta dishes, oils (more on that here)…the options really are endless. I decided to go for the slightly more classic wild garlic pesto, as the garlic leaves make a great substitute for basil. Although I didn’t stop there on the substitutions and instead of pine nuts I used pumpkin seeds in this recipe. This recipe is so simple to whizz up and will keep in the fridge for about a week. I just made a small little tub but quantities can be adjusted depending on how much wild garlic you managed to gather whilst out foraging.
60g wild garlic leaves (it is best to use the small, younger leaves, and try to pick them away from areas of frequent human or animal traffic, but regardless wash thoroughly before use)
30g pumpkin seeds
30g parmesan cheese
80ml good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Shred the garlic and then place all of the ingredients into a blender.
Whizz up until a smooth paste is formed.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge and use in any recipe that calls for traditional pesto.