Good morning! Guess what I did the previous weekend? I went wild garlic picking! And you should too. In case you’re already familiar with this forest plant you know how healthy it is. Not only that it detoxes your body after the long cold winter, it is also very delicious and I’m surprised I’ve managed to (accidentally) ignore it for so many years.
Before I get into more wild garlic pros, however, let me write a short ode to spring first. Have you noticed, how nature is going wild with greenery and blossoms all around? It’s such a relief to walk around, observing flowers blooming and forests coating into 50 shades of green. Even the simple small dandelions I picked a few days ago are wild with the rich and lush yellow color, greeting me happy every time I step out on the terrace.
I could say that spring is one of my favorite seasons but then again, if you ask me a few months later, I will probably tell you that I like summer and autumn as well. My point is, I take every season as it comes and try to make the most of it.
Since I’ve been away for more than a year (traveling and working abroad) I have to tell you that I walk around wide-eyed, admiring everything that my surroundings, my terrace views, and our generous Mother Nature have to offer. I forgot how rich the possibilities get especially in spring with the forests and gardens bursting with life. And the amount of plants, flowers, and herbs to pick is just never-ending and simply too easy! The month of April is just giving away all the delicious, healthy and free plants for us to bring home and make the most of in our kitchen.
Wild garlic love story
Last week we went on a weekend trip to a mountain region no too far from where I live and got full home service from a friend who invited us over. Not only we were served fresh coffee upon arrival, he also showed us around his small war museum and his mother prepared for us something too delicious to pass by. It was a wild garlic spread. Yum! Have you ever tried it? It was just begging me to eat it with pieces of fresh home-made bread. As if that wasn’t enough, our friend asked us, if we wanted to collect some wild garlic and bring it home with us. Collect fresh wild garlic? Straight from the forest floor? Yes, please! You just can’t get more natural than this. As I was kneeling and filling up my bag, my imagination went wild with all the new menu ideas and possibilities: soups, baked potatoes, salads, sauces topped with this delicious plant. The result was that we actually collected way more than we needed. I am a huge (h-u-g-e) garlic fan; there was no way to resist the urge and pick just a tiny amount. So stay tuned for the yummy spread post in the next couple of days.
What is wild garlic?
This miracle plant that or grandmothers used on a daily basis goes also by other names, such as ramsons, bear’s garlic, broad-leaved garlic. It is a seasonal plant that some even plant in their gardens.
Where and when can you find wild garlic?
It blooms somewhere between May and June, with pretty little white star-shaped blossoms. To pick it, simply follow your nose: If you can smell it, you know you’ve found the right plant. It is best before it flowers though.
You can pick the leaves anytime between April and May, usually in shaded forests. We surely did. The forest floor was covered with it and occasional tiny purple, white and yellow flowers, coloring up the vast sea or lush green. In case you don’t have the luxury to go wild garlic picking, try asking about it at your local farmer’s market.
How to use wild garlic?
Would you like to use wild garlic in your kitchen? Some suggest that it can be a garlic replacement (which doesn’t work for me; I’d preferably use them together). The whole plant is useful, so there’s nothing left of it (leaves and the bulbs, that is) once you’re done cooking. In my experience, wild garlic goes great with pretty much everything and it is best eaten raw. This way it keeps all the good healthy traits and the smell of chopped wild garlic is a thing I just cannot resist! Sprinkle it on baked potatoes, a bowl of spring greens, a plate of pasta. But keep it moderate, if you can.
Pros of wild garlic:
- Contains tons of antioxidants.
- Contains vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll.
- Cleanses blood and skin.
- Good for your blood vessels. It prevents blood clots.
- Helps with breathing problems with some diseases (including asthma).
- Helps digestion, boosts liver and glands’ functions.
- Cleanses kidneys and bladder.
- Lowers the cholesterol levels.
- Improves general well-being.
- It’s really tasty!
A word of caution!
Last but not least, if you go wild garlic picking keep in mind that this plant resembles two others, both poisonous: lily of the valley and crocus. The leaves are very similar, but the blossoms are very different. In case you’re in doubt, tear a leaf off the plant, rub it between your fingers and smell it. If it smells like garlic, it’s the right thing!
Wild garlic detox drink
If you just woke up from the winter hibernation, so to speak, and now you’re all in for some spring cleanse, walks in the woods and greens on your plate, I suggest you try making the wild garlic detox drink. It will take you no time whatsoever and your body will be grateful! I have not tried it myself since I’ve used it all when cooking, but feel free to share your results, thoughts, and ideas!
What you need:
- Two handfuls of wild garlic leaves
- A cup of water
- A blender
Put wild garlic and water into the blender. Blend well. Strain the mixture, toss the leafy remains.
Keep the fresh juice in the fridge and take 2 spoons 3x daily.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!