Wild Garlic Allium ursinum
With it’s pungent aroma and spikes of white-star flowers this wild plant has long been celebrated in culinary circles and cursed by gardeners for it’s rampant domination.
What to look for:
Bright green glossy spear shaped leaves on long stalks, the garlic smell is a give away even before the triangular stalks with 6 to 20 flowers appear.
Where to find it:
A woodland dweller that can form dense carpets of leaves in the spring before the trees are fully in leaf. Prefers rich damp soils and chalky areas under broadleaf trees.
When is it about:
The leaves first appear in late February / early March with the flowers following in April and lasting into May. Best gathered for eating before the flowers are in full bloom.
Recipe: Wild Garlic Mayonnaise
275ml (10fl oz) sunflower oil
40g (11⁄2oz) of Wild garlic leaves with stems (about 15) washed and dried.
(optional) 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 free-range egg yolk
1 tablespoon White wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon caster sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
The mayonnaise can be made in a food processor, with a hand blender or for the brave whisked
by hand. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Trim the stems form the wild garlic and finely chop; then slice each garlic leaf in half length ways, then finely shred the garlic leaves and place in a bowl. Put the yolk, sugar, salt, chopped garlic stems and mustard along with 1⁄2 the vinegar & lemon juice into a large bowl (if hand blending) or food processor.
Process mixture to combine and then begin to add the oil in a thin stream, blending as you go. Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the rest of the vinegar/ lemon then gradually add the rest of the oil until it is all fully incorporated and you have a smooth glossy mayonnaise. Fold in the shredded wild garlic leaves until mixed in and evenly distributed. Transfer to a sterilised jar (450ml) and put in fridge to chill. The mayonnaise will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Perfect for transforming a chicken & tomato sandwich or as the finishing touch in a new potato salad.
Note: Do not eat any wild foods unless you are 100% certain about your identification.