Joan over at retirement and beyond posted at the weekend about beautiful flowers in the Irish countryside. Stunning bluebells (I was reading her post wishing we had more here at The Glen House) and wild garlic (oh how pretty I thought)…. HANG ON A MINUTE, they look like the white flowers growing all around The Glen House. I dashed home to pick a bit, wash it and try….. OH WOW!!
So unbeknownst to me, this incredible herb and salad leaf has been growing all around. The delicate white flowers on long, grass-like stems are like a white bluebell, however the white flower has a slight garlicy smell.
Seemingly, there are dozens of similar plants called ‘wild garlic’ that are grown across the world. The Irish one grows in damp woodland as a floor covering, which creates a fantastic spectacle of white blooms appearing in April and May.
When picking your wild garlic, be sure to only pick healthy, undamaged specimens and give them a good wash before using. I used scissors to snip the garlic off at the base.
The whole of the plant is edible; the flowers have a mild, garlicky flavour and are perfect for salads and garnishes. The long, grass-like leaves can be snipped into salads and savoury dishes as you would use chives. Or as I did, blitzed up as a pesto or sauces. The bulbs can be sautéed up like shallots, or leave them in the ground for next year’s crop!
Here’s my wild garlic pesto recipe, I adapted it from Donal Skehan.
50g of Parmesan cheese, grated
140ml of extra virgin olive oil
40g of pine nuts
80g of wild garlic leaves, stems cut off, washed and dried
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Having thoroughly washed the wild garlic, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Once blitzed, I added a little more oil to loosen the mixture up.
Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and taste.
Transfer to clean jars and top with an extra drizzle of oil to create a seal. The jars will keep in the fridge for at least one week. And hey presto I have pesto!