Wild garlic is in season now and I found a large patch not too far away from where we live; I picked two bags full. Wild garlic, or Ramson, not to be confused with the poisonous lily of the valley, is a relative to chives and a much liked food by bears and wild boar. It thrives in woodland near water and I have fount it close to rivers and streams, lining damp paths. For me, foraging for food is something intensely satisfying; it makes me feel connected to the land. I remember walking in Sweden with my firstborn when he was only a couple of years; I was so exited when we found wild raspberries and I was overwhelmed by a desire to feed as many as I could to my son. I felt those wild raspberries were like medicine, they held information about the land he came from that he hadn’t consumed or been exposed to yet. Eating the raspberries would tie him to my land, he would form a connection to it and love it forever. I have read that the natural microbes on organic and wild food is the best probiotic there is. I haven’t looked into it any deeper and I’m no microbiologist but it felt like eating those wild raspberries from my ancient Swedish woodland was something we both needed. Eating local food and foraging for food exites me; when you have picked it yourself it fels like you’ve earned it. It’s too easy buying stuff from the supermarket sometimes.
Like normal garlic, wild garlic can help treat high blood pressure and it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and also said to be good for yeast infections and improving gut flora. With my bagfuls of leaves I have made chermoula, kimchi, pickle, pesto and a garlic butter and also dried some in the oven to add to salt blends or sprinkle over sups and stews. I have also steamed some for breakfast with a poached egg and crispy panchetta. Oh, and added some to a nettle soup…
I was trying to think of something to do with the buds and thought I would try to brine them. Hopefully, they will turn out a bit like pickled caper. Only a day in their brine – they taste like… crunchy, salty garlic flower buds. (To be expected). Flavours will develop over time and I will keep one jar to ferment away and another to eat now.
For the brined buds I didn’t want to clean them – as I want to keep the natural microbes on the bulbs. This will help with the natural femerntaion. The buds I picked were well protected under the leaves and kept very clean. I made sure not to pick any under trees where birds would have pooped. I didn’t use any measurements for the salt, I kept adding more to the boiled water until I thought it tasted right. You know you have added too much if it stops dissolving. I let the water cool a little before pouring it over the buds in the jars, hopping to retain their green colour.
When it comes to salt I never use bleached and processed table salt, I use a good quality natural sea salt.
- wild garlic buds
- good quality salt