Foraging for wild garlic

Wild garlic has a small white flower and broad leaves

Here in Britain the country is going into full panic mode with the corona virus scare. When I went to the supermarket this morning I noticed a lot of empty shelves. So it is good to know that many of the plants in our woodlands are edible and can be very tasty. A couple of weeks ago I went on a plant foraging walk in our local nature reserve and the leader Steve England introduced us to several plants that were safe to eat or had other uses such as making string or home remedies. Wild garlic is particularly easy to distinguish because of its distinctive pungent smell.

Wild garlic or broad leaf garlic (allium ransom) is found in moist ancient woodland. When foraging it is important to use all your senses. Dog mercury and lily of the valley which have similar leaves are poisonous but lack the garlic smell.  Bluebells have a thinner leaf and also lack the distinctive smell. Steve suggested that all plants were best avoided if they  smell of Labrador or Jack Russell so it is better to forage away from the main path.

All parts of the plant can be used. The flowers provide an edible decoration for salads and the leaves can be blanched like spinach and used to make pesto or garlic butter. If you plunge them into iced water after cooking it helps to preserve the green colour. They can also be frozen.

The bulb can also be cooked but this destroys the plant so you should not take too many. Garlic also has health benefits, it has antibacterial properties and can help lower blood pressure. According to legend it can also ward off vampires.

The trees are beginning to come into leaf
Woodland floor in March

I will be adding this post to flower of the day FOTP a photo  challenge run by Cee Neuner. I am very grateful to her for running these challenges which will help us all stay sane in these difficult times. I hope every one stays safe.

Author: Anne Fraser

I am a retired nurse from Bristol. I am married with five grown up children, two grandchildren, a boy and a girl and two cats Heidi and Tilly. I like rambling, history and travel and I am hoping to connect with other people around the world who share my interests. I am especially keen to hear from other older bloggers.

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