Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands
We are enjoying the aroma of English Wild Garlic (also known as Ramsoms, Buckram, Wood Garlic or Bear’s Garlic) in our arch this week. This beautiful and tasty leaf is a wild relative of chives but is more than a bit-player in cooking. Wild Garlic likes the damp, shady conditions of deciduous woodland, putting up leaves in early spring before flowering just as the tree canopy starts to shade out light. As with all wild food, clean growing conditions are a must and our English Wild Garlic is foraged for us from private woodland in Somerset.
In case you are tempted to pick your own, you must be sure not to mix it up with Lily of the Valley, which has a similar leaf but is highly toxic. Crush a piece of leaf between your fingers to release a distinctive pungent garlic smell to confirm you have the right plant.
Wild Garlic has an affinity with eggs, so works well in omelette or frittata. You can also chop it and add to a spring vegetable soup, wilt it in butter for a quick pasta sauce or make a wild garlic pesto. Do use any flowers along with the leaves as they not only look beautiful but also have good flavour.