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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Jumping jack wraps. © Jason Ingram

Dave Hamilton is an author, freelance writer, tutor, photographer, forager and explorer of historic sites and natural places. As a freelance nature writer, he’s contributed to BBC Wildlife, BBC Countryfile, Walk Magazine and the Guardian. He’s authored six books, including Amazon top ten best-seller, Wild Ruins and the comprehensive foraging guide, Where the Wild Things Grow. His books have been translated into five different languages selling over 75,000 copies worldwide. Dave has taught foraging to Ben Fogle and Mary Berry and led Guardian Masterclasses on the subject. In his spare time, he walks, cycles and occasionally performs as a stand-up comic.

David Hamilton

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

Family Foraging book cover

Main image: jumping jack wraps. © Jason Ingram