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Local and seasonal food

Wild Garlic

By 16th April 2020No Comments

Growing up in the country meant, as children, we were familiar with all the plants and trees around us. I can’t recall how we gained this knowledge, maybe via the ‘Nature Table’, we kept in our tiny, one-teacher school. We did however seem to have an instinct for which plants we should keep clear of and those we could consume! All summer long we sucked the nectar from red clover, (Trifolium pratense). It’s a plant I never see these days but we used to pick it regularly from the road side and feast on its sweetness. Common sorrel, (Rumex acetosa), was ‘sappy soukers’ to us and we relished the sharp, apple peel taste. Again, I can’t recall when I last saw sorrel growing wild. In autumn we ate brambles and wild rasps. We knew that a dock leaf would help with a nettle sting and we collected rose hips which were made into a syrup, by granny.

I understand that some folk might be a bit nervous about picking leaves from verges but a versatile and tasty plant is available from mid-March to early May and that is wild garlic, (Allium urisnum). It’s an easy plant to spot with its white flowers and long pointed leaves. You only have to crush a leaf to get the strong, distinctive odour and then there is no doubt you’ve got the right plant. It’s claimed wild garlic is a good source of vitamin A and C and is full of iron and calcium.

Once you’ve picked a few leaves, brush off any dirt and wash in cold water. Here are a couple of my favourite recipes but there are lots of other ways of using wild garlic. Enjoy!

Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones

225g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
50g butter
100g grated cheese
30g wild garlic leaves (finely chopped and without stalks)
1 egg

1. Pre-heat oven to 200c.
2. Mix the flour and baking powder and rub in the butter until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the cheese and finely chopped wild garlic leaves.
4. Beat the egg in a bowl and add to the dry mixture. Add just enough milk to bring it together in a dough.
5. Pat the dough on a floured chopping board to make a round about 2cm thick. Cut out the scones.
6. Place on a greased baking tray and brush tops with a little milk.
7. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until scones are golden brown.
8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Wild Garlic Pesto

120g wild garlic leaves (blanched)
1 garlic clove grated
200ml olive oil
½ lemon (zest only)
Salt & pepper
[You can include pine nuts or walnuts and parmesan cheese in the recipe but the above simple recipe works just fine]

1. Blanch the garlic leaves (stalks removed) in a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Refresh in cold water. Drain and squeeze out any excess water and roughly chop.
2. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend.
The pesto can then be used in various recipes as an accompaniment to pasta or added to soups.
The pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week if the top is covered with a layer of olive oil. It can also be frozen in small batches for future use.


I grew up on a farm in the NE of Scotland so have always had a close affinity to land and growing my own food. As a family we ate only what was in season and preserved fruit and vegetables if there was a glut. I am still passionate about cutting air miles on the food I eat. I’m lucky to live close to the Tayport Community Garden and pop in regularly for advice and produce.

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