Whilst we’re in the midst of COVID-19, it’s pretty difficult to know what we’ll end up with after a brief trip to the supermarket. Luckily however, we now find ourselves at the beginning of Spring, which means there are lots of herbs, leafy greens and edible flowers available in the natural world around us. Whilst it’s really important to know what is safe and what is definitely not safe to eat, if you’re sure of what you’re picking, this is a great time to forage for free, fresh foods.
Wild garlic is abundant near hedgerows and under shaded areas right now, and is a delicious, healthy and versatile ingredient that can make a big difference to dishes. You can of course also use this pesto to spread over toast or home made pizza. Wild garlic is generally young at the moment, and this is a good time to pick it. In a month or so, the leaves will be accompanied by white flowers which make the plant more visible, but signal the garlic is past its best. Have a look at the picture below to see what wild garlic looks like at the moment, and be sure to smell it to make doubly sure it’s garlic. It’ll smell like…. yep, garlic.
This recipe is made even more delicious by adding preserved lemons, which are also very easy to make. Simply sterilise a jar, slice a few lemons into quarters and pack them tightly into the jar. Using coarse salt, pack the salt around the lemons and add some optional herbs and spices like bay leaf, chilli flakes and black peppercorns. Place the jar in a cupboard for 3 months and turn it over each day. Liquid will start to fill the jar as the days go by, so if it looks as though the salt is depleted, add a little more. To make your pesto ASAP however, emit the preserved lemons and just use the juice of 1/2 a lemon plus 2 tsp zest.
- 2-3 large handfuls fresh wild garlic
- 1 handful cashews
- 2 big gulgs of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 a preserved lemon, or the juice of 1 whole lemon + 1 tsp of lemon zest
- A little water, if needed
- Add all ingredients to a blender and whizz, adding a little water if needed.
- Store in the fridge and consume within a couple of weeks. Stir into soup or chilli, mix with pasta, spread over toast, and enjoy!