As we have previoulsy mentioned, the Latin name of garlic (Allium ursinum) is due to the appeal of the bulbs to brown bears. Wild boars also dig them up, in the same way as hungry muntjac dig up bluebell bulbs.
Since we have three patches of wild garlic amongst myriad bluebells it seemed sensible to experiment in the kitchen.
Young leaves and flowers can be served as salad and the older, stronger-tasting leaves can be wilted into soup, omelettes or as a side dish like spinach. The bulbs can also be sliced and cooked but they are small and it seems better to leave them in the ground for next year’s crop.
Wild garlic pesto is a good dip or pasta sauce:
2 parts wild garlic leaves
1 part grated parmesan
1 part hazelnuts (toasted)
Olive oil, lemon juice & salt and pepper
Mix the garlic leaves, cheese and nuts with pestle and mortar (or food processor) then add olive oil for consistency and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
A seasoned forager would replace the hazelnuts with pignuts.
The result was pungent! That is perhaps because we used older leaves – next year we will gather leaves earlier in the season before the plants flower.