On one of our daily exercise breaks last week, my partner and I wandered down a country lane that we had previously left undiscovered and we came across a bounty of Wild Garlic. I am by no means a plant expert but i am learning quickly and I had already read about Wild Garlic and seen a Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto recipe that I wanted to try. To date my experience with foraging has not gone much further than my annual ritual of Blackberry picking so this was a new experience!
Wild Garlic is a native species in Britain, and it grows abundantly in ancient woodlands and country lanes from March through to August. Wild Garlic goes by several other names, its Latin name is Allium Ursinum and it is also commonly known as Bear Leek, Bears Garlic and Ramsons amongst more. Both the broad green leaves and the pretty white flowers are edible.
A word of caution, Wild Garlic can look very similar to Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous. So, to be really sure that you have found Wild Garlic, please do your research or enlist the help of a trusted expert if you are new to foraging, I don’t want anyone to get poisoned!!
As soon as we got back from our foraging walk, we got straight into the kitchen to make our pesto. The basic ingredients that you need to make a vegan Wild Garlic pesto are Wild Garlic leaves, nuts and/or seeds, oil and nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to your liking. We played around with what we had in our pantry, so we tried one batch with pine nuts, one with walnuts and one with sunflower seeds. You really could try anything which is why this is such a fun process! We are also planning to try adding some extra greens next time such as kale stalks.
We were so excited to try our homemade pesto, so we instantly cooked some pasta, chopped some fresh tomatoes and stirred some pesto through it all. It was utterly delicious!We have since used the pesto to coat some cauliflower before roasting which was also very tasty, the possibilities of uses of the pesto are endless!!
Wild Garlic can also be frozen once picked, so we plan on going for another foraging session to ensure that we can have homemade pesto all year round. It beats shop bought pesto any day!!
I hope that this has inspired you to explore your local area for wild garlic, however I realise that for city dwellers this may be impossible. Fear not though, because wild garlic can often be found for sale at greengrocers or fresh produce stores at this time of year too.If you have made or are planning to make your own wild garlic pesto please let me know how it goes, what twists you add to the recipe and what edible delights you create!