Garlic in the air – Kildare Post Gardening Column
Below is my gardening column for The Kildare Post that appeared in print on the 2nd of April 2014. This article is dedicated to one of my favourite spring time plants wild garlic. I don’t think I can ever get enough of it!!
The article was wrote at the very start of the wild garlic season and as we are starting to come towards the end of it now I said I would share it with you all to hopefully encourage you to make some wild garlic pesto. You will find a recipe at the very end of the article!
Garlic in the air – By David Corscadden
The smell of wild garlic is one of the main scents fighting for attention as you enjoy a spring time walk at the moment. And in the coming weeks its presence will become more noticeable as the smell gets stronger and the large sways of dark green leaves become speckled with crisp white flowers.
Personally I find wild garlic a lovely little plant that looks great in woods and forests. This being said I don’t think too many people would be happy to see it growing in their own gardens as it can be very invasive. I have spent many hours on my hands and knees digging up sections of it from gardens in Dublin. In small well-maintained city gardens it is not the most desired smell as you sit outside or walk out your front door!
While I do have a small patch in my own garden I can tell you I am maintaining it to ensure it stays a very small patch. Luckily in my garden it is found down the very bottom so is well away from the house. Here it is growing underneath a clump of trees which is generally where you will find it in the wild. The simplest way to tell if you have found wild garlic is to rip a leaf and rub it between your fingers and if you get a strong garlic scent you have wild garlic.
For food lovers, like myself, wild garlic is a great sight in spring as it means you can begin to make some amazing dishes. Both the leaves and the flowers of wild garlic are edible and can be used in many different ways. One of the easiest ways is to use the flowers as a garnish to dishes or alongside the leaves to add interest to salads or mashed potato. One of my favourite ways to use it is to make wild garlic pesto which can be used as a dressing for salads, in sandwiches or smothered over pasta. It is important to note however if you are not sure what you have is wild garlic don’t eat it.
Wild Garlic Pesto
50g wild garlic leaves
40g cashew nuts
200ml rapeseed oil or olive oil
45g grated parmesan cheese
1. Wash the leaves and dry on a piece of kitchen paper
2. Place all the dry ingredients into a blender and blend until combined
3. Pour the oil in until you have a loose consistency
4. Server as a dressing over salad leaves or over freshly cooked pasta with extra parmesan cheese
Some past gardening columns: