Saturday, 20 April 2013

Things I saw in the woods this morning, part 2

Wild garlic (no relation at all to garlic cloves you cook with) appears in April in our woods but by May it has all but disappeared. The crispy, pungent leaves emit a very garlicky smell. I often follow my nose and can usually find a bountiful crop hidden from view somewhere deep in the woods. As with all vegetables, timing is everything: when the wild garlic flowers in May, the flavour becomes less intense so it is best eaten before the star-shaped white flowers emerge. If you like to forage for your food, wild garlic is for you. Wander into the woods now and you will find it in clumps growing under beech trees in particular. I pick the leaves by snapping at the base. Check for spiders and discard any torn leaves (or those with teeth marks :)). I don't bother to wash my woodland food- my attitude being 'if I live, I live'. Heat a dash of olive oil in a pan until very hot, add crushed garlic cloves followed by the wild garlic leaves and saute for one minute only until the leaves are barely wilted. Remove from the pan immediately and eat as an accompanying vegetable.  I also eat the leaves raw when the flavour is all the more pungent.
Photo copyright SvD.

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