Wild garlic is one of the first fresh herbs in spring. It has a spicy aroma and is ideal for refining many dishes. It doesn’t last long so use it up quickly or freeze it.
The aromatic herb with the 20 to 30-centimeter-long leaves and the characteristic garlic-like taste can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Wild garlic pesto is very popular, but the leaves can also be used to make aromatic soups, cheese cream, or flavored butter. As a spicy ingredient, it is also suitable for many other dishes, such as quiche or risotto.
Wash and prepare wild garlic
Before preparing, first, remove the hard stems, wash the leaves thoroughly and cut them into small pieces if necessary. With warm dishes, such as soup, pasta sauce, or risotto, the wild garlic should not be heated too much and should only be added to the finished dish at the end or sprinkled over fresh before serving so that it retains its aroma. The flowers are also edible: they are very suitable for garnishing, for example for salads.
Recipes for wild garlic pesto and wild garlic butter
Wild garlic pesto is very easy to prepare. To do this, mix the herb in about equal parts with pine nuts – optionally walnuts – and freshly grated Parmesan as well as good oil and process with a hand blender to a fine mass. A delicious dish can be prepared quickly from the pesto and pasta. The pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week. Also prepared in no time at all and a delicious snack on fresh bread is wild garlic butter: Simply chop the cabbage finely, mix with butter and salt, and season with a little lemon juice if you like.
Collect wild garlic: Only with knowledge of plants
Wild garlic is in season from April at the latest. However, it shows the first tender leaves as early as March in many forests. However, only those who can distinguish the herb from its poisonous doubles should collect it.
Store wild garlic and preserve it
If you don’t want to collect and pick the wild garlic yourself in the forest, you will find it at weekly markets and in greengrocers during the season. In shops, you should only buy wild garlic without flowers, because as soon as it blooms, the leaves lose their aroma.
The typical wild garlic aroma also disappears quickly in the refrigerator. Fresh wild garlic should therefore be consumed as soon as possible; it will only keep for a day or two if refrigerated. To store, wrap in damp kitchen paper and place in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. The spring herb can also be frozen, preferably in portions in freezer bags or as butter. If you have wild garlic left over, you can put it in olive oil. Wild garlic oil keeps well sealed for a few months.
Grow wild garlic in your own garden
Anyone who has their own garden can easily grow the spicy herb. The plant prefers shady, damp locations and soil that is as nutrient-rich as possible. Once planted, wild garlic usually spreads relatively quickly and is a pretty eye-catcher in shady gardens with its white flowers.
Wild garlic contains healthy ingredients
Incidentally, wild garlic is not only delicious, but also very healthy: the herb contains a lot of vitamin C, iron for blood formation, potassium and calcium for bones and teeth, and magnesium for the muscles. It boosts digestion and improves blood circulation and metabolism. It is also said to help with arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and bacterial pathogens. The allicin, which gives the plant its garlic-like smell, has an antibacterial effect.