There is just something right about the way you can find things on Nature’s tray in abundance and turn them into the most delicious nutritious food. Organic, local, plentyful and free. Wild garlic (or bear garlic) can be found in shady European woodlands or riverbanks with moist soils from mid April till the end of May. Also widely naturalised in other parts of the world, including in Australia, New Zealand and large parts of North America.
The white flowers are good to eat too, though the plant gives its best before it is in full bloom and the leaves are young. The taste is a fusion between strong spring onions, leeks, chives in a pleasant combination, the taste gets considerably mellower when cooked. Similarly to spinach the leaves will collapse and greatly reduce in size when cooking, so the more you have to start with is the better.
Good to know the many health benefits wild garlic has to offer, such as lowering blood pressure, cleansing and aiding digestion amongst many .
The uses are versatile, wild garlic goes very well with potatoes, cheese and eggs. Use it in mashed potato, or shred into an omelette and serve with some goats cheese dotted on top. Below is the recipe for a creamy comfort soup that is a sure crowd pleaser.
Ingredients for the soup (serves 4):
- 1 big bunch of wild garlic leaves
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 800ml water
- 1 stock cube – optional
- 200 ml of single cream
- salt/pepper to taste
How to make
- Start with gently frying the finely chopped onion on the olive oil, till translucent
- Drop in the cubed potatoes, cover with water and simmer till tender.
- Meanwhile wash the wild garlic leaves then slice them up, once the potatoes are cooked they can go into the pan too also time to add the crushed garlic cloves
- Cook it for about 5 minutes on medium heat, take off the heat.
- Once it has cooled a notch down, cream the soup using a hand blender or a blender.
- Once the soup is nice and creamy place it back onto the heat and gradually pour in the cream while stirring continuously.
- As soon as the soup reaches boiling point again and starts to bubble it is ready, switch off the heat as not to overcook the cream
- Serve with croutons scattered on top, with a fresh breadroll or with bread slices toasted with melted on grated cheese.
Storing Wild Garlic
The leaves can be tied into bunches and placed standing into a long narrow cup filled with water, empty yoghurt pots are quite good for this. Pull a plastic sleeve over the leaves that sticking out and place into the fridge. They can last for 5-6 days until the leaves start to turn yellow meaning the end of use.
You can also wrap bunches of leaves tightly into clingfilm then into a plastic sleeve or bag and freeze them.