The plant has long, pointed leaves that are a bright green colour, growing from a single central stem. The leaves are smooth, shiny and oval-shaped, they have a distinct garlic smell when crushed or torn. Wild garlic produces white, star-shaped flowers that bloom in clusters at the top of a tall stem.
When foraging for wild garlic, its important to note that it can be confused with similar looking plants such as Lily of the Valley or the leaves of Lords-and-Ladies – which are poisonous. To distinguish wild garlic, crush a leaf between your fingers and take a whiff – the unmistakable scent of garlic will be released.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is a type of wild onion that is commonly found in wooded areas, fields, and along streams and rivers. It is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb and typically flowers in the spring.
It’s best to pick the leaves before the flowers bloom, as the leaves become tougher and the flavour becomes stronger after flowering. The season for Wild Garlic leaves is typically from March to May, with flowers from late April, and the seeds in May.
Wild garlic is a versatile ingredient with a pungent and unmistakable garlicky flavour, that is slightly milder than traditional garlic. The leaves can be used raw or cooked in a variety of dishes such as soups, stews, risottos, and pestos.
Here are a few of our favourite Wild Garlic recipes:
To preserve wild garlic for the seasons ahead, you can also dehydrate the leaves.
Wild garlic has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It is known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is also believed to aid digestion, boost the immune system, and have anti-inflammatory effects.
Wild garlic contains high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, and manganese. While further research is needed to fully understand the medicinal benefits of wild garlic, it is a nutritious plant that has been used for centuries to promote health and wellness.
Wild Garlic has a rich history and folklore dating back centuries. It is native to Europe and Asia and has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes since ancient times. In folklore, wild garlic was believed to have protective properties and was used to ward off evil spirits and vampires. It was also believed to be a symbol of strength and courage and was often used by soldiers before battle.
In some cultures, wild garlic was associated with fertility and was used to promote sexual potency. Today, wild garlic continues to be valued for its unique flavor and nutritional properties, and is a popular ingredient in many traditional European dishes.
When foraging, ensure you have correctly identified the plant before harvesting. Remember to always pick leaves from several different plants, leaving enough behind for the plant to regenerate, and never uproot the entire plant.
It’s important to note that wild garlic can be confused with similar looking plants such as Lily of the Valley or the leaves of Lords-and-Ladies which are poisonous. To distinguish wild garlic, crush a leaf between your fingers and take a whiff – the unmistakable scent of garlic will be released.
Many of our Cookery Courses include a short foraging walk as part of the day, introducing you to a handful of commonly found wild ingredients.
Essential if you’re picking on private land. As with everything, respect is key and goes a long way.
If in doubt, leave it out.
Why rush? Nature isn’t going anywhere! Take time to ensure you safely identify your finds.
One step at a time.
No one becomes an expert overnight. Build up your identification skills and your confidence will grow.
Enjoy the process.
Foraging is not only about what you pick but the experience – Immerse yourself in nature and appreciate the little things. The fresh air, birds chirping, a light breeze or the feel of soil beneath your feet.
With an abundance of forage at your doorstep, why not start local?
The 10% rule.
Only take what you need (or 10% of what is available). This not only means that you leave plenty for other foragers, but also local wildlife. We want to enjoy our ecosystem not damage it.
Leave room for regrowth.
Never uproot a plant so that it is always able to regrow after you have foraged from it.
Wash before consumption.
Always give your foraging finds a good wash before consuming, especially when picking on busy routes/path.