Wild garlic guide: how to identify, when and how to forage, and recipe ideas
In the forager's calendar, spring is one of the best times – when wild garlic grows in shaded woodlands, filling the air with a light garlicky scent.
Also known as ramsons, wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is a very popular plant with foragers, as it is a versatile and tasty plant.
Head on over to our foraging hub for even more foraging advice, species guides and recipes.
When and where to forage for wild garlic
Wild garlic can be found growing in shady and damp woodlands. The leaves can be foraged in spring from March, and are best when young. The flowers appear later in spring, from April to June.
More plant guides for foraging:
How to identify wild garlic
Wild garlic can be found growing under trees, often in dense clumps. Whilst the flowers are distinctive, it can be more difficult to identify wild garlic before they are in bloom. The leaves are long and pointed, with smooth untoothed edges – and smell of garlic.
However you should be absolutely sure of identification before picking and eating, as both the lords and ladies (Arum maculatum) and the lily of the valley (Convallaria majalisas) plants can look similar – but they are both very poisonous.
How to forage for wild garlic sustainably
Whilst wild garlic usually grows in abundance, it's still important to forage for wild garlic sustainably, not taking too much and not digging a plant up by its roots. As with all foraging, you must seek the landowner's permission.
Wild garlic recipe ideas
How to make wild garlic pesto
Chris Naylor loves fresh air and adventure, and believes any day that doesn’t involve the great outdoors is a missed opportunity. Chris shares his recipe for making wild garlic pesto.
How to make wild garlic salt
Discover how to make infused salt using dried wild garlic with this recipe by author and gardener Stephanie Hafferty.
How to make wild garlic bread sticks
This simple bread recipe, infused with foraged wild garlic, is a great option for family camping, says chef and food writer Gill Meller. Recipe opens on the BBC Countryfile Magazine website.
How to make wild garlic, potato and chorizo tortilla
An earthy and easy wild garlic, potato and chorizo tortilla recipe – perfect for a light lunch says Gill Meller. Recipe opens on the BBC Countryfile Magazine website.
How to make wild garlic, nettle and dandelion tart
This springtime tart – brought to you by Kathy Bishop and Tom Crowford from their Somerset smallholding – is made from foraged ingredients, including wild garlic, nettle and dandelion. Recipe opens on the BBC Countryfile Magazine website.
More recipes with nettle and dandelion:
Main image: Wild garlic in blossom in a beech forest in Germany. © Getty
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