If you’re stuck for something to do this weekend, try foraging for wild garlic. I’m a big fan of foraging for wild food, especially as it’s free!
I had a lovely spring walk last weekend at Dalkeith Country Park just outside Edinburgh with my children. The air was thick with the smell of wild garlic, which covered most of the woodland floor. So we picked a bagful, took it home and I knocked up a batch of wild garlic pesto – keep reading for the recipe.
At this time of year, wild garlic is in season. It grows in damp, shaded woodland or along the banks of rivers and burns and has a distinctive garlicky smell. The leaves are dark green and spear-shaped, with white star-shaped flowers which come out from April onwards.
The flowers can be added to salads and the leaves make fabulous soup, garlic butter, cream cheese dip or garlic pesto. Pick the youngest leaves from the middle of the plant as they have the best flavour. Wash and dry the leaves and keep them in a tied bag in the fridge as the smell can permeate into other things. Then try it in your cooking!
Wild garlic has many health benefits:
Recipe for Wild Garlic Pesto
These amounts are approximate, I tend to wing it a bit until I’m happy with it.
If you are interested in learning more about foraging, there are some great books available, such as Richard Mabey’s Food for Free. It’s a Collins Gem so will easily fit in a pocket when you’re out for a walk.
You can also do fantastic foraging courses and guided walks around Scotland. Have a look at these guys – Mark Williams at Galloway Wild Foods or Monica Wilde at Wilde in the Woods. You won't be disappointed!
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