Wild Garlic | Foraging and Recipe Tips
Spring is the perfect time to start looking out for wild foods that adorn our river banks, forests, hedgerows and even parks and wooded areas in towns and cities. There is wild food in abundance at this particular period and will continue to be for some months yet.
Now let’s get the safety stuff out the way first. If you are uncertain what you are picking, then don’t eat it; it’s not worth the risk. This is especially true of mushrooms, which can be deadly poisonous, but a number of plants can at least give you enough of a belly ache to make you approach with caution.
Ok, with all that out of the way, we are happy to tell you that it’s not all doom and gloom! First of all, there are several expertly taught foraging courses up and down the country. You’ll easily find one in your area with a quick Google-search. There are also great books available on the subject. Luckily, even without those options, some foraged goods are incredibly easy to identify and virtually impossible to mix up with anything else.
How to identify wild garlic and where to find it
The wild food we are going to look at here is wild garlic. Available throughout spring, this green leaf is impossible to mistake for anything else. Growing in dense patches, mostly close to rivers and their surrounding woodland, these plants can be identified by their 1-2 inch wide leaves and, as the season goes on, white flowers. But more than those visual clues, there is one even bigger giveaway: the smell! If you are out for a country walk between March and May and you detect the unmistakable aroma of garlic, the chances are you are in the nearby vicinity of a wild garlic patch.
Not only is it easily identifiable, it is hugely abundant. You won’t be able to pick more than you need - and that’s great: it means more people get to enjoy this wonderful food!
Oh yeah... It's free. Free food: now there's a bonus!
Cooking with wild garlic
First of all, clean it. You ideally want to pick from higher up the bank where animals haven't gotten near it and done their... business. Nonetheless, give it a wash anyway to be on the safe side.
After that, it's ready to use. The culinary potential here is vast; wild garlic has a delicate garlic flavour, far less strong than that of garlic bulbs/cloves but can be used in any recipe that would normally use garlic. Wild garlic leaves can be enjoyed raw in salads, or just wilted like spinach. They make incredible green pesto (better than any you could buy), garlic butter and salsa - both items make perfect flavoursome sauces and condiments suitable for a keto or low-carb diet. These sauces could be used in kievs, on pizzas, as part of the base sauce for our cheesy garlic bread or as sauces for kebabs and wraps. They'd make a fantastic addition to a quiche. Wild garlic leaves also make a tasty last minute addition to just about any soup - indeed, they make a fantastic, garlicky soup all of their own.
Make healthy, natural meals that are low in carbs and calories
It’s also incredibly nutritious. By combining with Lo-Dough, you can eat healthy, low carb, low calorie meals full of wild flavour and naturally-grown nourishment. As you can see in the photo below, Lo-Dough is never far from pizza and this wild garlic pesto pizza was spectacular.
Wild garlic sauce recipes:
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 150g wild garlic leaves
- 50g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ lemon, zested plus a few squeezes of juice
- 50g pine nuts, toasted
- 150ml of avocado oil or olive oil
Method: Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until the desired consistency. Season with salt to your taste. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Alternatively, batch up and freeze portions.
Wild Garlic Salsa Verde
- A couple of bunches of your favourite soft, green herbs. We’ve gone with mint, parsley and chives.
- 30g wild garlic
- 3 tsp Dijon mustard
- 40g small capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 200ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice.
Method: Hand chop all the herbs and wild garlic - you want this sauce to have a coarse texture. Then add to a bowl and stir through all the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Alternatively, batch up and freeze portions.
5 minutes foraging and 30 minutes in the kitchen can net you an amazing salsa and a mind blowing pesto that can be stored and use for many meals to come.
And for a little Lo-Dough inspiration, check out the pictures below for our barbecued lamb and vegetable salad and wrap with salsa verde. Simple to make and tastes like perfection; this is low-carb eating done wild and well!
First sign of sun, it's time to get a bbq lit.
Barbecuing is about more than just sausages and burgers. Its an amazingly healthy way to cook, and adds amazing smokey flavour to vegetables as well as meat.
This healthy salad served with lamb, veg and wild garlic salsa verde is what spring/summer food really ought to look like.
And this wrap made with Lo-Dough adds substance to these same ingredients without catapulting your calories and carbs out of whack. You've GOT to try this at your next BBQ.