How to make jumping jack wraps using garlic mustard leaves

Learn how to use the garlic mustard plant, one of the oldest spices cultivated in Europe, to make these delicious jumping jack wraps. Horticulturist David Hamilton shares his recipe.

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, grows in shaded areas along hedgerows and the edges of woods, roadsides and parks. It is found throughout Europe as well as large parts of the US and Canada.

Garlic mustard plant, also known as jack-by-the-hedge © Michael Meijer/Getty.
Garlic mustard plant, also known as jack-by-the-hedge © Michael Meijer/Getty.

All parts of the plant are edible, the flowers can be cooked like broccoli, the roots have a horseradish like taste and unsurprisingly the leaves have a garlic mustard flavour. For best use the leaves should be picked in the plants first year and before the plant flowers.

Leaves are heart shaped wit toothed prominent edges and can be used in salads, pesto or to flavour soups.



  • Garlic mustard leaves 20-30
  • Couscous 100g
  • Vegetable stock 185ml
  • Parsley finely chopped
  • Thyme 1 tsp
  • Raisins 1 tbsp
  • Pine nuts 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Blanch the garlic mustard leaves in a pan of boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes, remove with a lotted spoon, then dunk in cold water and pat each one dry with kitchen/paper towel.

    Young leaves of the garlic mustard plant © Whiteway/Getty.
    Young leaves of the garlic mustard plant © Whiteway/Getty.
  • Step 2

    In a large bowl, cover the couscous with the freshly boiled stock. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for 5 to 6 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then fluff the couscous with a spoon and stir in the herbs and remaining ingredients.

    Couscous © Joy Skipper/Getty.
    Couscous © Joy Skipper/Getty.
  • Step 3

    Place a teaspoon-sized amount of the mixture in the centre of each leaf. Fold the sides in and roll like a burrito. Serve as a side or snack.

    thumbnail_Jumping Jack Wraps
    Jumping jack wraps. © Jason Ingram

David Hamilton is an avid forager, horticulturist and magazine journalist, writing for titles such as the Guardian, BBC Gardener's World, BBC Countryfile and Grow Your Own. He is also the author of numerous books, including the Wild Ruins series of travel books and the Self-Sufficient-ish Bible. He began teaching foraging courses in 2007 after years of experimenting with wild foods.

This is a recipe from Family Foraging, published by White Lion Publishing.

Dave Hamilton

Main image: jumping jack wraps. © Jason Ingram