Many of our visitors in the Spring will have smelt the unmistakeable scent of garlic as they sauntered past the woods of Cornwall. Others may have noticed the delicate star-like flowers carpeting the woodland floor. But did you, like us, ever wonder what's it useful for?
Allium Ursinum - does it by any other name smell as sweet?
Wild Garlic, as it is commonly named has various pseudonyms, from its formal Latin name Allium Ursinum to at least seven more: Ransoms - Crow Garlic - Buckrams - Bear Garlic - Bear Leek, Wood Garlic and, of course, Wild Garlic! If you know it by any other name please let us know by commenting on Facebook - we'd love to know!
It has properties that are antibiotic, antiseptic, antibacterial and probably antisocial too! It helps keep risks of heart disease and strokes low through lowering blood pressure and it's free for all - a regular NHS!
There are so many things you can do with Wild Garlic, you will wonder why you ignored it so long! Make delicious soups with vegetables, stock and then add a large handful of wild garlic leaves near to the end and a good spoonful of crème fraise or cream. Replace basil leaves in pesto with Wild Garlic leaves and have the most delicious pesto for the price of pine nuts, a swoosh of olive oil and parmesan cheese. The Flowers too, make welcome additions to brighten up any salad. If you love chicken parcels, wrap up a chicken breast in a leaf for a delicate twist. The list is endless, not forgetting just replacing your usual garlic bulb from the supermarket with a chopped Wild Garlic leaf instead!
We hope you get lots of inspiration from this article to go out there are try a little bit of Nature's Bounty, but please forage responsibly. Don't desecrate an area, just take what you need, leave some for the wildlife and walk carefully so as not to damage plants unnecessarily. Please note that Lily of the Valley leaves are similar but do not share that tell-tale smell of garlic - they should never be eaten. If in doubt, please leave it out!