Wild garlic is in vogue again! The plant has a flavour that's reminiscent of garlic without a lingering odor. Let's take a closer look at this herb.
Wild garlic has been used for more than five thousand years; the Germans particularly loved this spring herb. Wild garlic is one of the earliest herbs to arrive in the spring, making it one of the first plants that can be harvested. Additionally, the Germans believed that bears transfer their strength to certain plants and herbs. They hoped by consuming wild garlic they could absorb this strength.
Wild garlic grows wild all over Europe and North Asia. The plant loves shady deciduous and alluvial forests. If you don't live near a forest, you can grow wild garlic in your garden! Make sure to offer the plant humus-rich, moist soil to ensure that it grows well.
Wild garlic grows from March to May, so the season is short. The leaves are best harvested before flowering, otherwise, they lose their flavour.
Be careful when collecting wild garlic in the forest. The long, lance-shaped leaves of autumnal timbers and lilies of the valley are very similar to those of wild garlic; but the other two plants are very poisonous. If you are unsure, you should do the smell test. If the leaves give off a garlic-like aroma, the plant is wild garlic.
The leaves of the wild garlic plant have been used for centuries for their natural medicinal properties. The green wild garlic leaves naturally contain ingredients that are antibacterial and antifungal. Wild garlic is used in herbal medicine because it has a positive effect on blood circulation.
When rubbed between the fingers, wild garlic leaves release a smell that is very reminiscent of garlic. The reason for this lies in the abundance of sulfur compounds in the plant. In contrast to garlic, however, these compounds are more strongly bound to proteins in wild garlic. That's why wild garlic does not leave such a strong garlic odour on your tongue after eating.
The leaves are always freshly used, never cooked, otherwise they lose their flavour. It is best to add the wild garlic after cooking, either just before serving or as a decoration.
If you want to enjoy wild garlic for a longer time, you can chop it and then freeze it with water in an ice cube mold. This preserves the flavour.