The fasting month is over and the balcony garden is more or less on its own foot now, so I am quite eager to go out and do some summer foraging on my own. From the brief ‘recceing’ that I had done while running some errands on foot, I have already identified some stuff that I am keen to lay my hands on before it is too late. After all, foraging for wild food is all about timing. You need to be there at the right season and at the right time to forage for the edibles that you covet. Having missed many foraging opportunities in spring, I wanted to make sure that I would make up for it in summer! Errr … and in autumn, too, of course! 😉
But first, let me share about wild garlic … also known as bear’s garlic in French and German or ramson in the United Kingdom.
As I mentioned in an old post on wild garlic, it was the mum who introduced me to the wild garlic plants that were growing in their copse. And ever since I got to know about their wild existence, each year without fail I would pick some to bring home for us to be able to enjoy these early spring delicacies.
Hmmm … maybe picking ‘some’ might not be quite the correct word to use.
Picking a paper bag full … enough to fill three colanders would be a more accurate description! hehehe … 😀
Well … since the parents do not live near us, it makes sense to pick as much as I can whenever I have the chance to do so. Especially since these are seasonal delicacies and they have only a very short season and neither the parents nor their neighbours seem interested in these spring edibles growing in their copse.
Wild garlic greens covering the slope leading to the stream in the copse below the parents’ home.
And there were even more of them growing on the opposite side of the small stream. Basically, the stretch along the stream is a wild garlic haven.
However, as most of them were growing on a slope, it was literally a back-breaking endeavour having to bend down while at times maintaining one’s balance on the slope in order to pick them.
But they were free and available … and would have wilted and died away if nobody picked them (only to grow in even greater quantity the following year) … so, it was my sacred duty to help control their growth and not to throw away free food for the taking! 😀
The same slope when the wild garlic plants were in full blooms two years ago.
Unfortunately, I missed this blooming spectacle last year and again this year. There were not that many open blooms when I visited the parents in April and early May. And by the time I visited the parents again in early June … their blooming season was already over.
All that was left were just these seed pods. But as I had learnt just earlier this year from a video on wild foraging that these pods could also be used in cooking …
… so I was more than happy to pick these, too! I used them to flavour my pasta dishes and vegetable stir-fries. Crushing them before putting into the mix helped to release their flavour. Kept in the fridge these seed pods seem to last for weeks.
By the way, this year I am happy to have discovered a small patch of wild garlic growing not too far away from home. However, as it was just a very small patch and as it was growing next to a small road, I decided to leave the patch alone. Nonetheless, I could not resist the temptation to pick more of them when I saw a sizeable patch during our annual trip up the mountains to pay the lovely narcissus a visit!
So what did I do with my big stash of wild garlic leaves?
Well … the main bulk of the wild garlic leaves, together with fresh bay leaves (which I also ‘foraged’ at the parents 😉 ) became pesto sauce.
I stored the uncooked pesto sauce in small plastic containers in the freezer so that I only need to take out one small container at a time for cooking, thus leaving the rest untouched in the freezer. Done this way, they keep for a long time … providing me with wild garlic pesto throughout the year until I am able to make a fresh batch at the next wild garlic season.
Previously, I used the pesto only for preparing our pasta meals. But this year … I decided to be a bit more adventurous.
I also used it as the basic spread on ready made flatbread instead of the usual tomato sauce to make what the hubby called mini pizza …
.. as well as to make wild garlic breads.
And I also made wild garlic pinwheels using store bought pastry base for making croissants. This quickly became one of my favourite ways of using the wild garlic pesto as it is not only easy to make but it also tastes so yummy. The buttery taste of the croissant pastry goes very well with the wild garlic pesto.
I also tried using the pastry base for making apple tart and this turned out more like biscuits … which the hubby seemed to prefer, especially after these ‘biscuits’ had cooled down. He claims that they are very addictive! 🙂
Apart from pesto, the wild garlic leaves also make quite a tasty soup. There are several recipes on wild garlic soup to choose from the Internet and of course, I chose the easiest to do using ingredients that were already available. The dainty white flowers of the wild garlic made a nice garnish as they are also edible.
And as for the rest of the fresh leaves, I just chopped them and …
… added them into vegetable stir fries.
… into soup noddles.
… into fried rice.
.. and also into vegetable fritters!
Nothing fancy, I know … but they fed our tummies, and I really enjoyed eating them knowing that I had picked them in the wild. These wild food is like gifts from heaven. Life cannot be any simpler and more satisfying.
Other entries on wild garlic:
- Foraging for wild garlic at the parents’ …
- An excursion to the Botanical Gardens in Zurich … that was not meant to be …!