Wild garlic: the herald of spring
When walking through the parks or forests in and around Vienna in spring, green spear-shaped leaves seem to cover the ground and the smell of garlic fills the air.
Wild garlic, also known as damsons, is a distant relative to chives. It can be found between March and June all over Europe, except the Mediterranean as it prefers woodlands with moist soils and slightly acidic conditions.
The fresh, green leaves are nice alternative in early spring, when you prefer to eat local ingredients. Wild garlic stalks are the perfect substitute for spinach and can be used in many dishes.
Its health benefits can mimic other leafy greens and cultivated garlic itself. Although there has been so far only limited research conducted and most of its benefits are based on folk and anecdotal experience, there are some potential. A Certified Health Coach, Devon Dionne, confirms: “Wild garlic is a potent herb that contains allicin, allin, allinase, and sulfur compounds giving it natural antibacterial and antimicrobial effects.” She further recommends: “When I am starting to feel sick I’ll add wild garlic to all my vegetables dishes as well as create an immunity shot with other natural antibiotics such as, oil of oregano, lemon ginger, apple cider vinegar” (See recipe). Like the garlic grown in our gardens it releases allicin when being cut, which is responsible for its volatile pungent smell. Further downsides include “bad breath and thinning of the blood which can cause complications if taking certain prescription medications”, says Dionne.
You can chop it and mix it with curd cheese (quark, fromage blanc), salt and pepper and two spoons of yoghurt. If you leave it in the fridge over night you will get a wonderful spread which tastes wonderful on rye bread. But be careful as ramsons have a strong taste of garlic, especially when the leaves are very young.
My highlight every year is my homemade wild garlic pesto.
First of all I wash and chop the wild garlic and put it in a blender together with pine nuts, fresh parmesan, salt and pepper. When everything is mixed well together I add extra virgin olive oil and stir it into a nice smooth paste.
It not only tastes great on pasta, I also love it with Insalata Caprese (mozzarella and tomatoes salad).
I also like to dry the leaves and store them in a glass jar. Dried wild garlic leaves can be used during the year in soups and stews.
Wild garlic pesto:
270g wild garlic leaves
40-60g pine nuts
30-50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
around 280 ml olive oil
Chop the leaves into tiny pieces, add the other ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger juiced or finely chopped
1 lemon juiced
1-2 cloves of wild garlic minced
3 drops oregano oil
1 Tablespoon Raw honey
A bit of water (optional)
Mix together all ingredients into a glass or in a food processor for a smoother consistency. If needed add a small amount of water until desired consistency.
Take immunity shot and chase with a glass of water if needed.