Birkdale House

Foraging for Wild Garlic

Birkdale House

26th March 2024

Spring is finally here, which means it’s wild garlic season. If you haven’t dived into the world of foraging, wild garlic is the perfect place to start. It’s everywhere in the Lake District at the moment, blanketing our woodlands and hedgerows, and filling the air with its wonderful garlicky aroma.

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, has wonderful, deep green leaves and pretty white flowers which transform the countryside from early March.

If you’re wondering what to do with it, it’s actually incredibly versatile. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, simple to turn into a soup, sauce or pesto, as we’ve done here. The delicate white flowers start to appear from early April and can be used to add a lovely, garlicky crunch to salads.

Wild Garlic Pesto

We decided to make this delicious pesto, inspired by one of the chefs we work with at Birkdale House, Martin Frickel. What’s more, it’s such a simple recipe.

We made this jar using the following ingredients:

100g wild garlic leaves
35g grated parmesan
35 toasted cashew nuts
80ml rapeseed oil
Juice and zest of half a lemon

We blanched the leaves and plunged straight into a bowl of ice-cold water before squeezing out the excess water. We then put all the ingredients into a food processor and blended it until it was smooth (well almost smooth – the crunch from the nuts adds some great texture).

Obviously, the ingredients can be increased or reduced according to taste, but this certainly worked for us and is absolutely delicious stirred into a bowl of pasta.

Not Just Delicious, But Nutritious Too

There’s more to wild garlic than just amazing taste – it’s also incredibly good for you. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a real spring tonic. It’s particularly high in vitamin C, which is great for keeping your immune system strong, and also contains allicin, a compound known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. In other words, eating wild garlic could help keep those pesky colds and infections at bay.

So why not ditch the supermarket garlic for a while and embrace the joys of foraging? Not only will you be enjoying a delicious and nutritious treat, but you’ll also be getting some fresh air and exercise. Just remember to be sustainable – only pick what you need and leave plenty behind for the wildlife.

Happy foraging!