One of my foraging resolutions this year (yes, I have those…) was to expand a little beyond picking the more obvious berries and fruits that line the Cotswolds’ hedgerows and become a little more adventures and knowledgeable when it comes to leafy things.One of these exciting discoveries was rather accidental – I was doing a long walk near Snowshill with some friends and as we walked through a wood a familiar pungent smell took over…We found ourselves surrounded by flowering wild garlic!
It’s easy to spot when it’s in full bloom – they have globe-shaped heads of small white flowers, which luckily I’d read about in my foraging book earlier the same month.That was back in May however, and one of the biggest difficulties of foraging is the time it takes you to get around to doing something about it before the season finishes…So by the time I actually went to collect together garlic leaves, I had to make sure I could identify them without the flowers! One of the easiest things to do to start with is just to follow your nose… the smell is unmistakable! This is what the broad leaves of wild garlic look like (above).
So it was a case of collecting together as many leaves as possible due to it being one of the last opportunities of the season… as you can see in the background of this image some were already going quite yellow.
And then what to cook? I went for one of the simplest possibilities – though by no means the cheapest – Wild Garlic Pesto! I found a recipe and doubled its quantities, so ultimately used 100g garlic leaves, 60g grated parmesan, 60g pine nuts, salt & pepper, all whizzed together with a stick blender before stirring in 160ml olive oil. So simple!
A couple of days into WOMAD festival, it tasted divine mixed with pasta. I’ve been meaning to make my own pesto for ages and I’d highly recommend it if you can afford to treat yourself (though you could probably replace pine nuts with cheaper nuts – unsalted cashews perhaps?) and have found some tasty foraged greens!