Wild Garlic Seed Capers
It feels like we’ve had a slightly lighter harvest of wild garlic this year. I’m not sure if more people are harvesting the leaves for their lockdown cook-alongs or whether we just haven’t had as much time out foraging as we would normally but there definitely seems to be less about?
Either way wild garlic is the springtime gift that just keeps on giving and we’ve tried our best to preserve this year’s harvest for the year to come. The biggest problem is that we are both inherently greedy so it is unlikely that we will get through the next few months without emptying our larder!
You can eat all parts of the plant from the bulb up (make sure you have the landowners permission before removing any bulbs!) We’ve spent the season fermenting and drying leaves, pickling flower heads and made jar upon jar of pesto which have been emptied onto pasta, spread on pizzas and given to our nearest and dearest as little pick me ups during lockdown.
Today’s focus and for the next couple of months is going to be wild garlic seed capers. These little preserves are incredibly flavourful and pack a real punch. A little goes a long way and we tend to use them most for garnishing canapes but they will add a real depth of flavour in any recipe which calls for traditional capers. Making wild garlic seed capers is a labour of love, removing the individual seed from the seed head can be incredibly laborious but I can assure you that it is well worth the effort!
Once the seeds have been removed the rest of the process is more about patience than any hands on work. The next step is to salt the wild garlic seeds, plain coarse salt will do just fine but you could consider using a smoked salt to see how this changes the end flavour? The wild garlic seeds will salt for 3 weeks, drawing out the moisture from within and making it an inhospitable place for any nasties to thrive.
After the initial salting we will then give the wild garlic seeds a good rinse in water, pat them dry and then submerge them into a vinegar of your choice. Cider vinegar is always a good one to go for as it will keep the flavour nice and clean, meaning you won’t be restricting what you could use the wild garlic seed capers for, but again experiment find a vinegar that you like most. This year we will be experimenting with a red wine vinegar that was steeped with wild cherry plums and a cider vinegar that was steeped with elderflowers all here from The Priory Farm Estate.
The wild garlic seed capers will need a minimum of a month before they’re ready to pop open. This will allow all of the flavours to mingle and mellow, if you can wait three months then all the better. Kept in sterilised jars in the fridge these wild garlic seed capers should keep quite happily until the next wild garlic seed heads appear the following year!