Along with the first flowers telling us that winter is over and, yes, spring is finally here, fresh leaves of wild garlic have been featuring on Instagram for the last week. For a lover of all things garlic like myself this meant that wild garlic had to be found and harvested asap. Because I’m a nice person (yes, that’s fishing for compliments here) I’ll tell you my favourite spots to find it.For those of you unfamiliar with this plant, this is how it looks like:
It grows in early spring on the floor of deciduous forests and has a distinct garlicky smell, hence the name.
Wild garlic season doesn’t last very long (4-8 weeks, depending on the weather) and the sooner you pick it the less of a chance you have of mistakenly picking leaves of plants that can be harmful (i.e. poisonous, potentially lethal), such as wild tulips, crocus or lily of the valley.
If you look closely, you will always be able to distinguish the leaves of all those plants – but let’s be honest, who really does look at each and every leaf they pick? I certainly don’t and solely rely on the garlicky smell as well as the way the leaves grow out of the ground.
While I’m still alive and have never had any issues, Mr A will not eat what I pick. When I considered this hurtful at first (Does he not trust me? Does he thing I am going to kill him – knowingly or accidentally?) I have now come to the conclusion that his loss is my win as this simply means there’ll be more of it for myself.
What can one use wild garlic for? I like to mash it up to pesto with olive oil and pine nuts and eat it with pasta or make soup from it. If there’s still some left I’ll use it like spinach – in a quiche, a salad, on pizza or in a strudel.
My two favourite spots to find and pic wild garlic are close to where my parents live (in Lower Austria) and in a piece of open forest on Stadtwanderweg 4 in Vienna.
Today being a brilliant day (sunshine, warm, not much wind), Mr A and I took the opportunity to go for a walk and Stadtwanderweg 4 was, like so often, our walk of choice: its beginning is only a few tram stops away from where we live and within minutes you feel like you’re away from the city and in nature. Turning back you can always see the city – from above – but it’s quiet and the air is really clean up there.
You can spot the first plants almost from the very beginning of the walk but approximately half way around there is a speck of forest the floor of which is just covered in juicy green leaves. There, wild garlic is so abundant that I wouldn’t waste a thought on whether to keep the spot a secret – there’s enough for everyone.
While Mr A found a place in the sun and patiently waited for me, I quickly collected maybe four hands full in a small plastic bag, which is definitely enough for me for the next few weeks. And if I feel like I’ve run out and need more I can always go back and get some.
Now I’m looking forward to getting creative and using it in the kitchen (starting as soon as this post goes live). Until I’m going to share my results with you, you can look up a plethora of delicious recipes with wild garlic on Wonni’s blog here (use Google translate or simliar if you’re not familiar with German).