Wild Garlic season is now upon us, stretching from early March until the end of May. This gives us plenty of time to get out into the wild and find ourselves some pungent garlic to add a little kick to some lovely homemade pesto.
Foraging can be a great activity for the whole family, getting everyone out and about in the fresh spring air amongst the abundant nature that Ireland has to offer. Despite the obvious health benefits of being active in the great outdoors, wild foods commonly have a number of other health benefits with wild garlic being a great natural source of folic acids and probiotics. It has also been proven that getting down and dirty with soil, be it through gardening or foraging, helps to clear your mind and reduce stress.
Foraging is also a much cheaper and more sustainable way of gathering ingredients when compared to a trip down to the local SuperValu. While gaining access to the freshest produce without the plastic packaging is great, it’s also important to be conscious of an area’s natural resources and to only take what you feel is needed to ensure the local ecosystem is not disrupted.
When it comes to identifying this wild treat, your nose is about as much use as your eyes! The plant is most commonly found in damp wooded areas and has a distinctive white flower (see image) and garlicky smell. The entire plant is edible with the flower often being used as a garnish. Its leaves can be chopped and used to give recipes a subtle garlic kick while its bulbs are used in a similar fashion to your regular garlic clove! Wild garlic is a very popular ingredient in many seasonal meals, sides and dips, including our very own Wild Garlic Pesto recipe.
Other wild foods in season include Wild Nettle, Carrageen Moss & Dillisk Seaweed.
Why not get up off the couch and get your hands dirty this uber-long bank holiday weekend! Great locations to embark on your foraging adventure include our very own Phoenix Park and the Glen of the Downs in Co. Wicklow.