So wild garlic season is well and truly here and I have been using it in so many different ways! It is one of my favourite wild plants and grows in most woodlands and shady areas.
I have a forest of it literally across the road, and I also have a patch of wild garlic in my garden, which is spreading every year, so I have a constant supply during the growing season!
One of the ways I like to use wild garlic is in this delicious spicy green sauce, called Zhoug, which originates in the Far East and is made with varying degrees of spiciness!
I am a chilli wimp and literally can't handle hot spicy food so I like to make a tame version, but you can make this as hot and spicy as you like!
This is such an intense sauce, its a beautiful vibrant colour and will really tingle your taste buds! It's also extremely versatile and can be stirred into natural yoghurt, couscous or grain salad, soup, or mixed with coconut milk and served with oven roast veggies for a delicious spicy dinner!
Coriander, flat leaf parsley, mint and wild garlic can be used or a combination of them! I have made a wild garlic/coriander and a wild garlic/mint combo and both were delicious!
Coriander is a great detoxifier and remover of heavy metals from the body and mint is great for the digestion.
It goes without saying that all dark green leafy plants are highly nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, protein and a great source of prebiotic fibre for our gut microbes!
Using wild foraged greens is such a great way of adding diversity to our gut microbiome, and diversity equals resilience for our health so it makes sense to make use of natures bounty!
Always be sure of what you are picking, use a plant id app, to double check and if in doubt then leave it out!
Wild garlic is easy to identify, it smells intensely of garlic, so follow your nose! I posted a photo at the end of this post.
In the absence of wild garlic just use a combination of coriander/flat leaf parsley/mint and add a few cloves of garlic.
You can add as many chillies as you want but as I am a chilli wimp 2 standard green chillies is enough for me! you can leave the seeds in for extra heat! I have also made this with padron peppers which aren't spicy at all but the sauce was still delicious, so just use your discretion!
Cardamon, cumin, salt, black peppercorns, lemon and oil are the other ingredients you will need to make this delicious sauce.
Here is the recipe
This is a delicious marinade, sauce or condiment, originating from Argentina, originally made with flat leaf pasley, garlic, chilli, oil, oregano and red wine vinegar, but since wild garlic season is in full flow, it makes perfect sense to replace the garlic with wild garlic, which also adds loads more minerals, phytochemicals and health benefits!
This is a delicious sauce to dip sourdough into, it works great tossed with potatoes before oven roasting them or with any oven roast veggies. I chopped the herbs finely rather than blitzing them which results in a chunkier sauce. You could also stir a spoonful of this through houmous or natural yoghurt for a delicious dip.
So far we have eaten it with oven roasted cauliflower, on salads, in roast potatoes, on sourdough and in wraps!
I will be making lots of this delicious stuff over the coming weeks!
You can easily up the amount of chilli flakes or use a whole red chilli chopped instead, but as I am a chilli wimp, a wee sprinkling is enough for me.
So here is the recipe
I love wild garlic season and this recipe is a brilliant way of preserving it for as long as you like, and adding a subtle garlic flavour to all your dishes!
Use a good quality coarse natural salt, like everything else, using the best ingredients yields the best product, in terms of nutrition and flavour.
Salts all taste different, contain varying types and amounts of beneficial minerals, depending on where they are sourced.
I tend to use pink Himalyan rock salt for all my ferments, but its not as sustainable as sea salt, but then sea salt can contain plastic nanoparticles which isn't good for sealife or us!
So I opted for a traditionally harvested Atlantic sea salt called Sel de Guerande from Brittany, its a bit grey in colour due to the high amount of minerals it contains and it has a really good flavour. A study from 2018 showed that this was only one of 3 salts tested which didn't contain plastic nanoparticles.
Not sure if this is still the case, but it pays off to do a bit of research and buy the best you can. After all wild garlic is completely free so invest a bit in your salt!
So here is how you make it
I have been having the best fun this year, expanding my foraging repertoire, with my most knowlegeable friend Vicky, of The Little Foragers Kitchen! In fact we have been running some joint outdoor workshops, at Cadder Wharf, among the trees, enjoying the fresh air and learning all about natures amazing healing plants and how to use them in delicious and creative ways!
So hawthorn ketchup is new to me, and my first attempt wasn't a great success! I had picked the berries when they weren't quite ripe enough, so took ages to break down and by the time I had blended and sieved it, there was hardly anything left!
So not to be deterred I left it a few weeks, until the haw berries were much riper, and this time it turned out great! So the motto is, If at first you don't suceed, try, try and try again!!
Also Practice makes perfect!!
So now I can share my recipe, and the good news is you can harvest haw berries throughout October, they are perfect for harvesting now.
You can freeze the berries in 500g amounts, so you can make this delicious ketchup whenever you want.
I have a stash of rosehips, elderberries, brambles, haw berries and sloe berries in the freezer to use throughout the year.
So hawthorn is a wonderful plant, classed as an adaptagen, which supports the heart and circulation. The flowers and leaves are also edible, as well as the lovely berries in the autumn.
Always be 100% sure of correct identification when you are collecting any wild berries, there are similar ones which are not edible and can make you rather ill. Look at the leaf shape as well as the berries, there are many plant apps which you can use to identify plants correctly.
So onto the recipe, you can vary the flavour of the ketchup by adding different spices, chilli flakes, and garlic, or go down the warming spice route with allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, for a deliciously fruity, rich and intense ketchup, which is what I chose!
This ketchup is delicious served with veggie burgers, veggie sausages, stirred into casseroles, blended with chickpeas and tahini for a delicious dip or mixed with natural yoghurt to serve with falafel.
It tastes almost like HP sauce but a much healthier version!
So here is the recipe
Ingredients- makes around 350mls ketchup
1. Remove all the stalks from the haw berries and give them a wash.
2. Put the berries in a pan with the apple cider vinegar and water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook until
the berries start to soften and split. This can take from 30 minutes to nearer an hour if your berries are hard.
You may need to top it up with hot water
3. Push the mixture through a sieve to remove all the stones and skins. Use a wooden spoon to really push it through. If your mixture looks dry then add extra boiling water and give it a good mix before you sieve it. You need around 300 to 350 mls.
4. Return the pulp to a clean pan and add the sugar, spices, salt and pepper.
5. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, and then simmer gently for around 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. Transfer to a sterilised jar or bottle.*
To sterilise your bottle, wash it in hot soapy water, rinse it well then put in the oven at 140 C for around 15 minutes.
Alternatively put your bottles and jars through a hot cycle in the dishwasher.
🍃 Health educator🍃