BY Feebee Foran
A hotly anticipated time in a foragers calendar is the arrival of Wild Garlic. The season is quick, but when you find a coveted patch of wild garlic, you will be struck by the most fragrant aroma in the air. In fact, the smell is the best way to identify this gorgeous plant.
Big, fat and flat green leaves, with a single stem grow in clumps, sometimes carpeting the floor of woodlands, forests or damp riverside walks. As they come into flower, you will recognise them by their pretty star shaped petals, growing in an umbel pointing upwards to the sky, almost like they are reflecting the celestial bodies above.
Every part of the Wild Garlic, or Allium Ursinum is edible and as its Latin name suggests, it is a member of the Allium or Onion family. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, chopped into salads, or thrown into stir-fries, stews or curries just before plating up (prolonged cooking will minimise the taste) for a beautifully floral garlic flavour.
If you find that garlic cloves are too strong for your taste, Wild Garlic is a lovely alternative. Although they have a fiercely pungent aroma, the flavour is softer, more delicate than store bought garlic.
How to identify wild garlic
Bar the tell-tale scent, wild garlic leaves are bright green, with a waxy flat texture and a single stem running through the centre. The bulbs are small and white and its flower has six pointed start shaped petals.
However, when young, it can be easily mistaken with Lily of the Valley and Lords and Ladies, which are both highly poisonous and not for consumption, so as with all foraged plants, make sure that you are 100% certain of what you have found before picking it, let alone eating it.
What to do with your haul?
Wild Garlic is so versatile, however there is one recipe that I will make continuously during Wild Garlic season, (purely because it doesn’t last long and once friends and family hear that I have made a batch of it, they seem to magically appear at my front door) and that’s Wild Garlic Pesto.
This recipe is so versatile and can be made to taste depending on how you like yours. I tend to work off sight and constant tasting – believe me it’s a real treat! This recipe can be used as a delicious pasta sauce, as an addition to toasted sandwiches, as a seasoning for roast potatoes, a stuffing for chicken breasts, or simply as a dip for crackers – the uses are endless.
Wild Garlic Pesto
In a blender/with a hand blender/or with a pestle and mortar, blitz the following ingredients together until smooth.
- A few handfuls of Wild Garlic leaves & flowers
- Half a block of grated Parmesan cheese
Glugs of olive or rapeseed oil
A handful of pine nuts
The juice & zest of a lemon
- Salt & pepper to taste
This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
For garlic bread lovers, Wild Garlic butter is a sure-fire win and is so easy to make.
Wild Garlic Butter
Allow a block of unsalted butter to go to room temperature before mashing until soft in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and about 50g finely chopped wild garlic leaves.
Stir and mash well until you feel that there is a good distribution of the leaves throughout the butter. Tip the butter mixture onto some parchment paper and start to roll, making a slim log shape. Allow to cool in the fridge before slicing into coin shaped chunks for use.
This is delicious as a simple butter, but also works great for cooking steaks, for roast vegetables or for making your own Chicken Kiev.
Feebee Foran is a Herbalist and owner of 100% natural skincare brand Forager.
You can find her hand-made products on forager.ie or in stores nationwide, including Meadows & Byrne, Kilkenny Design, reuzi and Project 29 in Dublin.
If you want to learn more about the wild beauty growing around you, join Feebee on one of her Urban Foraging tours along the Dodder. Visit www.forager.ie to book your tickets.
Forager A45 Daisy Balm & Skin Saver €16 each
PHOTOS BY Katie Kavanagh
Dublin Gazette – Digital Edition – April 20, 2023 – Dublin Gazette Newspapers – Dublin News, Sport and Lifestyle – CLICK ON LINK TO READ MORE IN THIS WEEKS DIGITAL EDITION
- Council joins Bord Bia Bloom Festival with special parklet
- SOS protest re polluted waters
- Food basket report reveals continuing pressure on family budgets
- Pádraig Harrington announces Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Nationwide Golf Challenge
- Diesel and petrol prices already on the rise