Garlic Season is here!

At Lunefield one of the great features of spring is the sight and smell of wild garlic. This grows in profusion up the old coach road at the end of the garden and eventually bursts into a cloud of white flowers which look nebulous under the tree canopy.

Mum always used say that it was brought to England by the Romans and wherever it bloomed they had marched. However (unusually) she was wrong. This is our native species and the Romans brought the chunkier Italian garlic that we now use. Wild garlic is found all over the UK and Scotland, yet the Romans never crossed the Scottish border.

It is possible to confuse some toxic leaves with those of the wild garlic; such as the leaves of Lords and Ladies, Lily of the Valley and Autumn Crocus. These are all very poisonous (though I have never seen them at Lunefield) but do take care! Mistaking the latter for Wild Garlic has led to a death in the UK – so crush a leaf and use your nose, if it smells of garlic it is garlic...

The taste is strongest in the early spring so use sparingly. It can be added to salads or (my favourite) used in pesto. Just toast pine nuts or sunflower seeds and then blend with wild garlic and some parmesan. "The Greedy Vegan" blog supplies a recipe to pickle the flowers and buds with white pink and black peppercorns. The delicious Cornish Yarg is ripened in wild garlic leaves which impart a delicious flavour as the cheese matures.

So come and pick some wild garlic and take the distinctive (?) fragrance home with you...

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