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Wild Garlic – what is it and what is so great about it?

Allium ursinum, Allium triquetrum, Allium cepa. What am I on about? Why are these latin names relevant? The above is what you would know as wild garlic, three cornered wild leek and conventional, every day onion. In the academic botanical world they all belong to the Allium family to which any plant that has that garlicky, oniony twang belong i.e. conventional garlic, leeks, chives, scallions. While we impose names like leek, garlic and onion on the wild versions, the taste is in that range but usually not quite the same and this makes them all the more interesting to use in dishes.

What also sets them apart is their mineral and nutritional range as well as their freshness.

They are a strong plant and can spread impressively quickly. For this reason they are a wonderful resource for the forager as their abundance means it is very likely that you will ever deplete the population in any serious way. For the gardener they can be quite a pest as they are really invasive. Personally, I think there is a place for them and it is lovely to enjoy something fresh and local without having to go to any bother at all!

At this time of year, they are just coming into their best time and they are truly a tasty and welcome addition to the pot.

After a long winter, we are all becoming a bit stretched in terms of nutrition. Most of the conventional garlic and onions that you are eating have been stored for a few months by now and will have depleted in nutritional value. The sad, soggy green salads we find in plastic bags in the supermarkets have either travelled a long way or may have been grown under artificial lighting and heating so have an inherent carbon footprint and lack that natural punch and range of nutrition.

Wild garlic is plentiful and fresh right and if you look in the right places, it’s probably growing somewhere nearby! It benefits from an undisturbed soil so draws up all those natural elements from a healthy soil biome. No herbicides, no pestides…Just a clean, delicious vegetable that is wonderfully versatile. Wild garlic and the leaves of the three-cornered Leek can be used to substitute onions, chives, leeks and garlic in a variety of recipes. A little imagination and creativity can turn them into something really special.

Wild garlic and onions can be easily identified so it’s perfect for the beginner forager. See below for photos and the poisonous lookalike you need to watch out for (it’s easy once you know what to look out for).

Benefits of eating wild alliums:

• Has an impressive range of vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, C, iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and copper.

• Cleanses the blood

• Boosts the immune system

• More effective than conventional alliums at lowering blood cholesterol

Need to add photos of ursinum and triquetrum as well as poisonous lookalikey. I have photos of triquetrum.

Add photos of mayo, pesto and eggy recipe - with flower deco.

4 Easy-peasy recipes for wild garlic/onions

1. Chop it up and add it to mayonnaise – spread liberally on your favourite snack

2. Whizz it up with nuts of choice, oil and cheese or cheese substitute to make a pesto – throw it on some boiled pasta and hey presto! Lunch!!

3. Onions love eggs! Chop it and add to an omelette, scrambled eggs or frittata for a taste sensation!

4. Want to add some flavour and zing to your tired old soup recipes? Voilà! Chop up, add liberally to the pot and enjoy!

**Don´t forget the flowers make an amazing decoration that will beautify any dish**

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