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Yes the bluebells are now flowering and the wild garlic isn’t far behind.  Visit the woods if you possibly can, and whilst you’re there why not pick some wild garlic leaves and make some Zingy Pesto or Patsy’s Perky Soup.  Yum!

Patsy’s Perky Wild Garlic Soup

This soup probably doesn’t need any more of an introduction than the title.  It’s Patsy’s, it’s perky, it uses wild garlic – oh, and it’s delicious.

25g butter

2 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 litre vegetable stock

4 big handfuls (about 200g) of wild garlic leaves, chopped

100ml double cream

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and onion and toss until well coated. Season. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the wild garlic and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Immediately liquidise the soup with a hand-held stick blender, then return to the pan, stir in the cream, taste and season. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Zingy Wild Garlic Pesto

Patsy tried quite a few wild garlic pesto recipes last year and one of the best was from the Great British Chefs website.  Here’s the link to the recipe  

There are some fabulous step-by-step photos.  They will be particularly helpful if you don’t exactly know what wild garlic looks like.

Patsy has substituted spinach for parsley in the past, it would be very strong if you didn’t use extra ‘green’.  It keeps well in the fridge but can also be frozen.  Last year she filled small plastic shot glasses and froze them (you can buy twenty in a tube from Poundland), it’s just enough to add to a pan of pasta for a very quick supper idea.

A word about the etiquette on foraging.  Given the abundance of wild garlic you are unlikely to over harvest. However, every population is limited so bear in mind the following:

  • Every part of wild garlic (leaves, flowers and bulbs) is edible but if you root up the whole plant it’s gone from that spot forever.  If you harvest just the leaves and/or flowers, the plant will re-generate next year provided you haven’t over-cropped it.
  • There are a variety of opinions about how much of a plant you can take without damaging it.  Some say one third, others a quarter.  I always err on the side of caution and only take about 3 leaves from any one plant. There’s masses around so it’s not exactly difficult.

Finally, make sure you wash the leaves before using them.  Dogs, foxes and other animals may have visited that area before you…

Happy pickings and happy eating.