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wild food – Wild at heart

Posted by Hay Brunsdon on October 11 2013.

May Bank Holiday is on its way and already two of the Polestars team have taken their own personal pilgrimages to the Cotswolds to indulge in the delights of Farmers’ Markets, Car Boot Sales and, most importantly, a spot of wild food foraging.

Luckily Stroud boasts beautiful walks along semi-shaded river banks – the perfect habitat to supply hoards of wild garlic. Although a real indicator that Spring has arrived, no one is about to start cramming fistfuls of it fresh out of the soil and into their mouths.  For a less intense flavour it’s perfect as the key ingredient for fresh pesto with a bit of a kick; great when paired with pasta.

Wild food –wild garlic pesto

It’s so simple to make! Grab a large bunch of washed wild garlic and blend with a smaller bunch of parsley, one handful of toasted pine nuts and another of parmesan cheese. Add a healthy helping of salt and pepper before blending well, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and about 150 mls of olive oil.

If you’ve snatched a generous helping then why not also make a plate of Wild Garlic cheese toasts too? Just finely chop the raw garlic leaves, mix as much of it as you like with cream cheese and half an egg yolk. Spread between toasted granary buns and add salt and pepper. Enjoy with a nice splash of olive oil.

After collecting it during a lovely woodland walk, we find it’s best enjoyed outside as well. Dappled courtyards, lashings of Elderflower pressé and mismatching china plates a la Cider with Rosie. Bliss!

It is worth understanding a little bit of the laws and rules associated with collecting wild food and wild garlic in particular,
Things to consider.
Have you identified the plant correctly – Luckily Garlic is very easy to identify by the smell that you will surely recognize, however in your enthusiasm. it is possible to pick other plants in the same handful, so make sure you sort your pickings in the light on your return.
You also need to consider the permission of the land owner, when picking wild food, and the distribution and rarity of the wild food you are picking. Luckily in the case of wild garlic you can usually find it abundantly along public footpaths where you can collect away. However be aware that public footpaths attract dog walkers!

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