It's the season for foraging wild garlic!
Now, I'm not an expert, but I've picked up a few things from going to a foraging workshop in Scotland.
The first tip that I was told and is a must for anyone who loves the idea of finding, foraging and cooking with wild ingredients, is that if you're not 100% sure that what you're foraging is exactly what you're looking for, then DON'T PICK IT! Only be 100% sure of its identity.
This is especially true for mushrooms that can make you very, very sick. And could even kill you (although not likely in the U.K).
Get to know where you live, research the area and find out if there are any local groups or experts. Follow them, read their blogs and buy their books. The more informed you get about where you live, the more likely that you'll find what you're looking for.
Certain plants etc might not grow as abundantly around you compared to other areas, and starting local is obviously best.
I'm part of some U.K-wide foraging Facebook groups, but also ones dedicated to Kent.
Be respectful of the land and plants. There are a few rules and regulations for foraging and the Woodland Trust has a great article on this. Mainly it's around seeking permission on particular pieces of land, only picking where there is plenty and leaving lots behind.
When we foraged, we only took a few handfuls for wild garlic pesto. I used a Kind Bag to store the leaves until I got home. We plan to go back once the flowers start to come out as they're amazingly delicious when pickled!
Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe
150 g Wild Garlic Leaves
50 g of Parmesan
½ lemon which is also zested
50 g of toasted pine nuts
150 ml rapeseed oil
- Blitz the wild garlic, lemon zest, pine nuts together until it's a paste, slowly add most of the oil too as it's blending.
- Add in the parmesan, squeeze the half lemon and remaining oil.
- Give it a good stir with a fork until it's all mixed.
- Store it in the fridge in a sterilised jar or put it straight in to a pasta dish! Add a little pasta water when you mix it in to make it a little more saucy.
Foraging courses in the U.K
Wild Food UK - they have courses happening all over England.
Cracking Good Food - again, they have a few course around the U.K
Wild Kitchen - They are Kent-based and runs foraging courses in woodlands but around the coast too!
Wild Food Stories - Leanne runs her foraging workshops in East of Scotland. This is the one I've done and it was brilliant!
Taste The Wild - They are in Yorkshire and are recommended by Country File.
The Fat Hen - These guys are down in Cornwall.
Original Outdoors - Foraging in the Welsh countryside.