Jack by the hedge, otherwise known as Hedge Garlic or sometimes even just wild garlic – is actually not a garlic at all!
Name: Alliaria Petiolata
Location: Anywhere, usually grass verges, woodlands and tucked alongside hedges
Months: March to September
Edible Parts: Leaves, Flowers, Seeds
Hedge Garlic is a member of the mustard family – hence it’s familiar flavour and smell that reminds us of garlics. There are actually quite a few plants that could be called under the common name ‘wild garlic’ so it’s important to be able to differentiate between them. Hedge garlic is quite distinctive with its beautifully shaped lobed leaves. It’s a more delicate flavour than actual alliums provide so it’s more suitable for delicate touches of garlic/mustard flavouring such as in salads eaten fresh.
Now that the Wild Garlic is springing up again this season take advantage of it and try to store as much of it as possible to last you until your next garlic harvest.
A simple and easy way to store wild garlic is to create a garlic paste. All you need is some high quality oil such as Olive Oil and a bunch of wild garlic leaves/bulbs. SO long as the wild garlic isn’t flowering, you can use the whole thing for this paste.
Step One: Add a touch of lemon juice, a dash of salt and pour a tablespoon of olive oil to your Wild Garlic. Then, blend them together, a handheld blender works best.
Step Two: Add more love oil if necessary to make a strong garlic paste to the thickness you desire and mix well.
Step Three: Pour into a jar and top with a layer of oil to seal it in and stop air exposure.
You can keep this paste in the pantry or in the fridge, so long as the oil layer is maintained it shouldn’t go bad. You may find in the fridge the oil layer becomes hard, that’s normal! Just scoop underneath it and reseal after use. You should only need a teaspoon per meal to replace your usual garlic cloves as it’s reasonably strong flavoured.
Name: Wild Garlic
Location: Mostly found on Riverbanks
Months: March, April
Edible Parts: Leaves and Bulbs
Non-Edible Parts: Flowers
When young the leaves are mild and great additions to salads. If you go for the bulb it can be used just like a shop garlic clove. As the plant matures the leaves become extremely strong flavoured and you will want to use them more sparingly. Once it flowers it’s time to leave it be as with most plants.