First of all, how should we call the "beauty"? "Wild Garlic”, “Ramsons”, “Bear’s Garlic” or “Bärlauch” like the Germans? Even though Wild Garlic is completely unknown in many parts of the world and only available for a very short period every year, the little green herb carries a multitude of different names. For simplicity, I will now stick with Wild Garlic, even though I really like “Bear’s Garlic” a lot.
Do you know why the green leaves actually carry this name? Legend has it that bears when they woke up from their hibernation every spring, were enticed by the smell of the “leafy green” and therefore searched through the woods for Wild Garlic as their first “spring snack”. ;) Today, I would consider Wild Garlic to be “in Fashion” for both bears and humans.
Among herbalists, Wild Garlic has been known for a very long time as a medical herb. The leafy green, which is a wild relative to garlic and onion is native to the European mainland as well as Northern Asia, where it typically grows in moist & shady woodland areas.
Therefore, it's unfortunately also only available fresh there. (But there is always the dried version, which is by the way also very tasty! :))
Just like the bears, the herbalists knew about the superpower of wild garlic long before the mainstream accepted the “garlicy green” into their diet. Wild garlic has a few particular characteristics that make it highly attractive from a health point of view.
First of all, wild garlic is super rich in Vitamin C. With 150mg per 100g, wild garlic is a true immune-system booster containing three times as much Vitamin C as oranges.
Perfect Detoxing Agent
Besides being a Vitamin C booster, wild garlic contains large amounts of chlorophyll, the plant pigment responsible for the bright green leave color. Chlorophyll is a perfect “detoxing agent” as it plays a crucial role in the exertion of toxins and other cell-damaging substances.
Rich in Adenosine and Allicin
Another wild garlic specialty is its level of adenosine. Adenosine is an organic compound that can act as a vasodilator and therefore alleviate or fully protect from migraines and/ or other circulatory disorders. Moreover, wild garlic is also rich in essential oils, in particular Allicin. In naturopathy, Allicin is known for its positive effects on our stomach and our intestine, it can alleviate flatulence, cramping pain, positively influence the blood pressure regulation and contribute to blood cleansing.
When I looked at the green Wild Garlic leaves for the first time, I would have never guessed that they actually taste somewhat like garlic. But they do. Wild garlic has a uniquely mellow taste with a particular gentle aroma, slightly similar to chive and of course garlic.
A friend told me a few weeks ago how much she loves her “Wild Garlic Pesto” but she is super afraid of the after-odor of Wild Garlic as it is so closely related to regular garlic botanically. Wild Garlic, however, doesn’t cause much, if any, body odor after consumption as it is way less intensive in its aftertaste. You should already notice a difference if you smell on both, the leaves of Wild Garlic and a regular garlic clove. The regular garlic is much more intensive. By the way, you can not only eat the wild garlic leaves, the beautiful white flowers are edible as well. By the way, you can not only eat the Wild Garlic leaves, the beautiful white flowers are edible as well.
Every year, I get super excited about the start of Wild Garlic season. Wild Garlic season typically starts in March and roughly ends by the end of May. During this time, Wild Garlic can be found at every Farmer's Market and usually even in the vegetable section of classic supermarkets. (Of course, this only applies to areas rich in moist woodland usually occurring in temperate zones).
If you feel adventurous, you also have the option to go on your own "Wild Garlic treasure hunt". But be careful! The Wild Garlic in your hand may look very similar to other plants, some of which may even be poisonous. Therefore, either take an expert with you on your treasure hunt or stick with the Wild Garlic offered at the local Farmer’s Market. There you at least know, it was picked by an expert.
Ideally, Wild Garlic is consumed on the day of purchase. As I personally love to purchase things in advance though, I usually place the leafy Green, alongside with my other herbs and veggies, covered in a paper bag or plastic container into the fridge. This works for up to three days for me. Alternatively, you can also pickle the Wild Garlic or chop it and store it in your freezer until consumption. Both versions alter the taste slightly though.
To prep Wild Garlic for any recipe, start with washing the leaves thoroughly. Then cut the green leaves into small strips. That's it. Super easy right? The only thing you should keep in mind is DO NOT COOK Wild Garlic. Just like other herbs and your beloved leafy greens, Wild Garlic loses much of its taste and nutritional properties when cooked. The way to go with Wild Garlic is “RAW”.
So now – what can do with Wild Garlic? A lot in my opinion. Wild Garlic isn’t only a perfect “green pesto base”, the leafy green also makes a wonderful addition to salads and a perfect “raw” topping for pasta, rice and many other savory dishes. Amongst my favorite recipes are
- Eggplant Tower with Hummus and Wild Garlic
- Green Pizza with Wild Garlic Hummus