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Happy Bank Holiday Weekend Wild Ones!

Now is the time to go foraging for our favourite pungent plant Wild Garlic, perfect for soup or pesto.

With its fresh, garlicky smell wild garlic is an unmistakable scent in woodlands and forests in the spring months. Preferring to grow in shady and damp conditions, the wild garlic season starts in late winter and lasts until the end of spring, although it may be past its best by then.

Wild garlic has a lighter flavour to traditional bulb garlic, and the green, pointed leaves and white flowers of this bulbous perennial flowering plant are easy to identify, making it a good first foray into foraging. As wild garlic grows in abundance it is generally acceptable to pick a small amount, however our guide below explains how to pick wild garlic without causing any detrimental impact to the natural environment.

How to forage responsibly:
Always be sure you can positively identify any plant before you pick it, and never eat any plant you are unsure of. 

The leaves and flowers are edible. Young leaves are delicious added to soups, sauces and pesto. Leaves appear in March and are best picked when young. The flowers emerge from April to June and can add a potent garlic punch to salads and sandwiches.

There are also lots of health benefits of wild garlic - Used traditionally throughout Europe as a spring tonic due to its blood-purifying properties, similarly to bulb garlic, wild garlic is also thought to lower cholesterol and blood-pressure, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

The leaves were once boiled and the resulting liquid used as a disinfectant. Its smell is said to repel cats, so may be a good inclusion for a keen ornithologist’s garden. Despite its strong scent, wild garlic has a much mellower taste than conventional garlic. Easily confused, prior to flowering, with the similarly leaved Lily of the Valley. Best not to eat this one though, it’s poisonous.

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