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ESSENTIAL FOOD TRAILS JOURNAL

Wild Garlic Pesto

Siobhán Sloane, Essential Food Trails, Ireland
3 April 2020

Wild Garlic is an edible spring flowering plant that grows in woodlands and hedgerows of Ireland in March and April. I first came across this remarkable plant on a guided herb walk with Oonagh O’Dwyer of Wild Kitchen during the Burren Food Fayre a couple of years ago. I was amazed to see this bright green plant foraged from a hedgerow and blended with nuts and oil to create a tasty pesto.

This is my take on wild garlic pesto with a little help from a lovely book The Hedgerow Handbook by Adele Nozedar. There’s also a good recipe in Darina Allens’ Forgotten Skills of Cooking.

I gathered the wild garlic from a woodland near where I live and picked the dandelion leaves, mint and nettles from the back garden. The hazelnuts, oil and cheese are shop bought; the cheese is a mature white cheddar style. Measurements are by instinct.

Ingredients:

  • Hazelnuts – crushed
  • Olive Oil
  • Hard Cheese – grated
  • Wild Garlic Leaves
  • Any other green herbs you have handy.

Method:

Blend the nuts, leaves and herbs, mix in the grated cheese and add the oil. Put the pesto into a glass jar. The wild garlic pesto would probably keep in the fridge for a week or so, but I’ve never had the chance to find out.

The pesto can be eaten on bread or crackers or added to soups or stews. I have tried it on homemade sourdough bread, as a pizza topping and swirled into celeriac soup.

 A note on Foraging: before embarking on a foraging expedition, get advice from those in the know, find a guide and go on some walks, read some books. Consider the area where you are picking in terms of chemicals and dogs. Take only what you need, leave some for next years’ growth and some for the wildlife.

 

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