April is a wonderful time to get outside and explore the abundance of Spring herbs and plants flourishing right now. The UK is full of greenery during these months of ample sun and rain, from detoxifying cleavers and dandelion to Alexanders and today’s featured ingredient of wild garlic or Ramsons as it’s also known.
Wild garlic is one of those plants that tends to cover a lot of ground, and finding the perfect moment to pick it is important in itself. Picked too early and the leaves won’t have found their flavour yet, but pick too late when all the white flowers have bloomed and they’re past their best. Because of this, I tend to think that on average the first couple of weeks of April is a good time to forage wild garlic – when the flower heads are starting to emerge but they haven’t opened yet. Walking past wild garlic you can smell it on warm days, but once the first handful it pulled from the ground there’s no mistaking the scent. It has plenty of benefits including the ability to lower blood pressure, boost metabolism, antibacterial and antibiotic properties, it’s great for the gut and it tastes great without being as strong as the garlic cloves you might usually cook with.
Be sure to check that what you’re picking is actually wild garlic (there’s a similar looking plant that is actually poisonous, so if you’re unsure wait until the small white flowers have opened) and whip up this five minute recipe for a seasonal Spring pesto!
(Makes enough to fill a jam jar)
- 2 large handfuls fresh wild garlic
- 2 handfuls walnuts
- Generous pinch of salt and pepper
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of ½ a lemon
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until you reach the desired consistency
- Spoon into a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week
Enjoy spread on toast or crackers, mixed into pasta, as a dip or splodged on top of salad or soup!