My earliest memories of wild garlic are from school, where it used to grow along the pathway covered by trees. We used to pick the leaves and flowers and bring them into class, only to be told off because of the unbelievably pungent smell. While we never ate it back then, little did I realise that this wonderful free food could be transformed into so many delicious dishes. Wild garlic has been used in Irish cooking for hundreds of years.
Known as ‘creamh’ as Gaeilge, it grows in covered forest areas and now is the perfect time to go out and pick some, the woodland floors are completely covered in it and it’s incredibly hard to miss with it’s broad green leaves and pretty white flowers. The key way to identify it is by smell, pick one of the leaves and you will immediately notice a distinct garlic scent. Use a scissors and pick the leaves and flowers at their stems. You should need no more than a basket full, and they can be used in salads as you would chives or made into marinades. Even the flowers can be eaten so they make a wonderful garnish.
I wandered into the woods close to our house, on Wednesday evening just as the sun was going down and got a big basket full which I proudly carried home to be transformed into pesto! A few spoonfuls mixed through steaming hot pasta is total heaven on a plate! Now is the time to pick it, so head out this weekend and get your wild garlic on!