In the past, wild garlic was valued as a herb and medicinal plant. Now the knowledge of its use is slowly coming back. When can wild garlic be harvested and how can it be differentiated from poisonous doppelgangers? You can find the answers and a recipe for wild garlic pesto here.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) grows out of the forest floor in spring and becomes about 20 centimeters high. The lush green wild herbs are often collected in order to prepare spicy dishes with wild garlic. If you don’t know wild garlic, you only need to follow your nose: while the young plants smell very gently of garlic in early spring, the scent during the flowering period is sharp and pungent.
At a glance:
Season and use of wild garlic
Between March and May, June at the latest, wild garlic is in season and can be harvested. The young, nutritious and juicy green wild garlic leaves are collected before the white flowers appear. They taste best fresh, right after harvest. But the harvest time is short. In the early summer, the plant disappears into the ground again, only to grow back up in the same place the following year.
Wild garlic can be chopped to flavor soups, salads, vegetable dishes, in pancakes or as a pesto to spread on bread. It tastes similar to garlic, but without causing the unpleasant smell afterwards.
When cooked, wild garlic loses its taste and ingredients, which is why it is mainly consumed raw.
Wild garlic: attention, poisonous doppelgangers!
The leaves of the wild garlic are very similar to those of the poisonous lily of the valley. The most important distinguishing feature is the smell test: When rubbed between the fingers, wild garlic smells strongly of garlic, other plants do not. The underside of the wild garlic leaves is also matt, whereas the leaves of the lily of the valley are shiny.
The very poisonous autumn crocus also looks similar to wild garlic. There is a clear difference in the stem: While each wild garlic leaf has its own stem, the autumn crocus always has several leaves growing out of a tuber. If you don’t want to take the risk of confusion, it is best to plant the wild garlic bulbs in your own garden in late summer or autumn.
Healthy effects of wild garlic
Like chives and other family members of the leek family, wild garlic contains numerous sulphurous substances that are responsible on the one hand for the typical smell and on the other hand for the health-promoting properties. They improve the flow properties of the blood, lower blood pressure and blood fat content and inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Protects the heart and circulation: Like its close relative, garlic, wild garlic also contains substances that break down calcium deposits in the blood vessels. This ensures that the blood can flow more easily and thus lowers the blood pressure. Heart attacks and strokes are prevented.
Helps the intestines: Fresh wild garlic not only contains vitamin C that strengthens the immune system, but also acts like a natural antibiotic against bacterial and fungal infections. Unlike prescription antibiotics, however, it protects the beneficial intestinal bacteria and thus keeps the healthy intestinal flora alive. Therefore, wild garlic is particularly effective and gentle in treating acute gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence.
Heals the skin: Its antibiotic and blood circulation-promoting properties make wild garlic a natural helper in the event of injuries: Consumption activates natural regeneration from within; a freshly crushed leaf disinfects small wounds.
Tips for collecting and harvesting wild garlic
In many areas of Germany there is plenty of wild garlic in nature. However, you should only collect wild garlic if you are sure that it is wild garlic. It is not allowed to collect in nature reserves. The following tips should be observed when collecting:
- Harvest only as much wild garlic as is needed.
- Pick only one leaf per plant.
- Do not harvest from flowering plants as they contain little or no aroma.
- Do not remove the bulbs and roots from the soil so that it can grow back for the next year.
- Rinse the wild garlic well at home under running water to minimize the risk of a fox tapeworm.
Recipes: wild garlic pesto and more
The vitamin-rich wild garlic can be used to prepare a variety of dishes in the kitchen, for example wild garlic pesto, wild garlic butter or wild garlic soup.
Recipe for wild garlic pesto with pine nuts and parmesan
ingredients for one or two glasses:
- 150 g wild garlic (about a large bunch)
- 50 g pine nuts
- 100 g Parmesan
- 12 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the wild garlic, drain on paper towels or a clean tea towel and cut into thin strips. Roast the pine nuts (without oil) in a pan until they are fragrant. Then let cool and roughly chop. Puree the oil, wild garlic, seeds and finely squeezed garlic with the cheese in a tall mixing vessel with a hand blender or blender, season with salt and pepper. The wild garlic pesto tastes delicious with pasta or as a spread.
Recipe for wild garlic and potato salad
- 8 medium-sized potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small can of green peas
- 300 milliliters of vegetable broth
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 40 grams of butter and butter for frying
- 3 tablespoons of vinegar
- pepper from the grinder
- 1 bunch of wild garlic (about 150 grams)
- Wash the potatoes, boil them in salted water with caraway seeds, drain, peel and cut into slices.
- Bring the vegetable stock with the shallots to the boil. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, butter and vinegar, simmer for three minutes and add to the potatoes. Season to taste with the spices and let it steep.
- Wash three leaves of wild garlic, cut into fine strips and add to the lukewarm potato salad with the peas.
Recipe for wild garlic pesto with hazelnuts and pecorino
ingredients for two glasses:
- 500 g wild garlic
- 150 g Pecorino-Käse
- 50 g pine nuts
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 250 ml of olive oil
- Sea salt, pepper
preparation: Finely chop the wild garlic, grate the cheese. Put both aside. Finely chop the pine nuts and nuts and roast them in a pan without fat until they are slightly brown. Continue to grind in a mortar until some of it is finely ground. Mix with the olive oil, wild garlic and cheese, season with salt and pepper.
Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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