This time of year it seems the earth smiles at us and says ' Welcome '. Welcome to new life, to new possibilities and as the sky deepens and the sun begins to warm our soft bodies and hearts we marvel at life. We venture out into the lushness of ever expanding life, life is blooming and blossoming around us, in the garden, in the parks, in the hills and valleys and in the woods.
Here at Wild Swan we love to marvel at what nature has to offer both freely and in bounty. At this time of year wild garlic signals spring and is one of our all time favourites growing in abundance in the woods and shady areas in parks and the countryside, especially here in Sheffield.
Wild garlic is a member of the Allium family such as spring onions, leaks and bulb garlic. It's hard to miss this wild plant/flower as its subtle aroma fills the air and usually grows in abundance.
Once the pretty white flowers appear the leaves begin to loose their wild, vibrant appearance. Wild garlic is just wonderful to eat when cooked and everything is edible; the leaves, stems and flowers.
Wild garlic makes a wonderful garlic butter, pesto, and is absolutely delicious in soups, stews and pasta. The leaves and flowers are also a great accompaniment in salad, and the soft delicate white flowers are guaranteed to enhance the look of our home made dishes ( it's also good to freeze ).
The benefits of this remarkable super food doesn't end here, our ancestors would have used it sparingly as both food and medicine. Wild garlic is known to boost the immune system so when you feel under the weather, have a cold, or sore throat, use it as you would bulb garlic. It has anti viral and anti bacterial properties, improves circulation and purifies the blood, and is also great for the digestive system.
If you hurry down to the woods today you might just be able to forage the last of this beautiful edible wild plant/flower.
Wild Garlic Butter Recipe;
*250g pack unsalted butter, softened
*flaky sea salt, to taste
*50g wild garlic leaves, finely chopped
1. Mash the butter in a bowl with some sea salt – start with 1/2 tsp, then taste before adding more.
2. Stir in the wild garlic.
3. Using baking paper, roll and shape the butter into a log (or whatever she you want), then twist the ends to form a cracker.
4. Chill until needed (you can also freeze it for a month and cut off slices as needed).
Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe;
*150g wild garlic leaves
*50g parmesan or vegetarian/vegan alternative, finely grated
*a few squeezes of juice
*50g pine nuts, toasted
*150ml rapeseed oil
1. Rinse and roughly chop the wild garlic leaves.
2. Blitz the wild garlic leaves, parmesan, and pine nuts to a rough paste in a food processor. Season with salt, and with the motor running slowly, add almost all the oil.
3. Taste, add salt if needed, and a few squeezes of lemon juice.
4. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top with the remaining oil. This will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
Enjoy, and stay safe and healthy,
Love the Wild Swans xo