You can buy wild garlic in some London markets, and Riverford also sell it when it is in season. But it is such fun to go and pick your own in April and May, when the leaves are tender and new, and the air fragrant with the subtle aroma of garlic.
Living in Somerset, we have quite a few areas where we can forage wild garlic, but it can be found in woodland, along the side of country lanes, or even in wasteland. It has sword-shaped silky, almost moist leaves but they do resemble the poisonous Lily of the Valley leaves, which can often grow amongst wild garlic, so rub the leaves between your fingers to release the garlicky scent before you pick. In June/July pick the seed heads and grow a patch at the bottom of your garden.
I used to make this pesto only with wild garlic but it is a bit strong so I now cut this with fresh basil. I freeze it in small batches so that it is available all year round, as wild garlic is a great blood tonic, lowers cholesterol, has antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic qualities and just all round tastes great. It is far tastier than garlic cloves, as it has a gentler aroma. I also stir it into green soups, just before I liquidise so that I can preserve its qualities.
Try it as a sauce for grilled asparagus or add a swirl to a green soup just before serving. I often stir it into courgetti with a grating of organic parmesan with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in with a little chopped cooked chicken.
One other tip, after making, add a couple of tablespoons of boiling water, as this makes the green more vibrant, and when storing in a Kilner jar, seal with more extra virgin organic olive oil, which will add to its shelf life.
Make around 250 ml
30 g fresh basil leaves
50 g wild garlic leaves
50 g organic walnuts
50 g organic parmesan, grated
80 g organic olive oil
2 tbs boiling water
½ tsp pink Himalayans salt
extra virgin organic olive oil for topping up
1. Put the basil, garlic, walnuts, parmesan and salt into a food processor and blend until roughly chopped. Slowly add the olive oil until you reach the right consistency.
2. Add 2 tbs of boiling water and blend again. You don't want this to be too smooth.
3. Place in a sterilised jar and then cover with a little extra olive oil to seal the pesto and prevent discolouration.