If you’ve ever found yourself in a sheltered woodland during sunny April, then you may well have come across a blanket of beady white flowers.
The shards of vibrant green leaves peaking through the blooms, nestled between towering tree trunks is a magical sight. But as delicate as it looks, the sprawling greenery packs an intense flavour – the wonderfully aromatic wild garlic.
There’s something deeply satisfying about foraging food, and I like to think Wild Garlic Pesto is a quick win to that wholesome bliss. It’s a simple recipe and foraging the garlic doesn’t require lots of patience or complicated methods. It’s a pick, blend and eat job and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that.
How to Forage for Wild Garlic
Please make sure you read this guide on recognising and foraging wild garlic before giving it a go yourself.
The plant has some more toxic look alikes, so it’s important that you know what’s going to give you that gorgeous garlic flavour, and what’s most certainly not! Lots of tips, timings and secrets on where to look too.
Our local garlic spot is in a quiet, relatively hidden place near my house and grows in abundance at the start of spring. I used scissors to cut the leaves at the stem and placed them in a basket so they could lie flat. The leaves damage easily so take care not to fold or scrunch them up.
Cleaning and Keeping Wild Garlic Fresh
Sort through the leaves and rinse off each one under a tap of cold water, before dropping into a bowl of water to soak. I usually soak them for 30 minutes before draining.
An effective way of keeping your garlic fresh (this also applies to many herbs) is to carefully place the leaves into a sealable food bag lined with damp kitchen roll and pop in the fridge. They will stay fresh up to three days later.
Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe
- 100g Flaked almonds (you can use pine nuts or roasted whole almonds if you want more texture)
- 80g grated Parmesan
- 3 large handfuls of wild garlic leaves
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sea salt
- In a food mixer, blend the wild garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan until the leaves are finely shredded and the Parmesan combined
- Add the almonds and a tsp of olive oil and blitz again, this time just to ensure the almonds are broken up
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in a little olive oil by hand, adding a drizzle at a time until you’ve reached the consistency you’re after.
- Season with salt to taste
The pesto can be stored in a jar in the fridge for upto 2 weeks, just make sure you drizzle some olive oil on the top so it stays fresh. It can also be frozen in an ice cube tray and used later in the year.