The impressive health benefits of wild garlic

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a sweet-smelling surprise! Spring is the time to make the most of the carpets of wild garlic growing in abundance . Liz has lots growing wild in her farm hedgerows – another good place to look. Follow your nose (literally) and look for its pointed oval leaves that closely resemble Lily of the Valley, but when picked and crushed in your hand give off an unmistakably strong garlicky aroma.

tips for foraging spring Liz Earle WellbeingAlthough we can eat wild garlic bulbs, they tend to be too small to be of much use and digging them out would remove the plant for foraging next year. It’s their leaves that are worth harvesting, preferably before too many of their pretty white flowers have appeared which can signal the arrival of tougher leaves and a slightly bitter taste. Eaten raw, the leaves are delicious, but can pack quite a powerful and pungent punch. When cooked, they mellow considerably while still retaining that gorgeous garlic flavour and scent. The flowers are edible, too, so why not add a handful to garnish your spring salad?

Health benefits of wild garlic

Garlic is widely known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral properties, and contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper. Studies have also shown that it may help reduce blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Interestingly, although all types of garlic have these benefits, wild garlic is thought to be the most effective at lowering blood pressure.

You can enjoy wild garlic, also known as ransoms, in a wealth of different ways. Chop it into mayonnaise or sour cream for a divine dip, or whizz in a blender with pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil for an unbeatable fresh pesto. It’s a perfect partner for eggs, so add a little to an omelette, scrambled eggs or a frittata for a taste sensation. You can also blanch the leaves or wilt them over a gentle heat in a little oil, as you would spinach, for a deliciously different vegetable side. And for a perfect accompaniment to so many seasonal delights, chop wild garlic and spring onion and soften in a little butter to serve with spring lamb, baby Jersey Royals and asparagus.

Looking for a nutritious spring soup recipe? Look no further. Simply soften one chopped onion and two peeled, chopped potatoes in a little oil or butter for ten minutes, then add one litre of vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and throw in four good handfuls of wild garlic leaves. Simmer for just two minutes, then remove from the heat and blend. Return to the pan, heat through gently and add approximately 100ml of organic cream for a bowl of green, garlicky goodness. Simply scrumptious!

Like this? Now read:

Liz’s top tips for foraging this spring
How to support your immune system
Foods to support your immune system
Wild garlic pesto recipe

Wellbeing Wisdom

  • Studies show that garlic (especially the wild variety) may reduce our risk of stroke and heart disease by reducing blood pressure
  • Garlic is known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral properties