So wild garlic season is in full flow and I have been making the most of it, pestos, pakora, soups, sourdough, kraut and this rather delicious leek and wild garlic kimchi!
Kimchi can be made with many veggies, traditionally it is napa cabbage and daikon radish, with lots of other flavouring ingredients including garlic, ginger and chilli. Traditional recipes include fish sauce or shrimp, some add rice flour and versions can range from hot to smoke coming out of your ears extremely hot!
Now I am a bit of a chilli wimp so never make my kimchi really hot and I also prefer to make mine vegan so no pungent fish sauce or baby fish for me.
Wild garlic, like all greens is extremely nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals and polyphenols and it tastes really garlicky so its perfect for a kimchi!
I decided to add some leeks too, which are a fabulous prebiotic, and available in Scotland all year round.
So this kimchi is a fast ferment, ready in around 5 to 7 days, with a lovely flavour and pleasing texture.
You can make this as hot as you like by upping the amount of chilli powder you use.
I use Korean gochugaru chilli powder, which I buy online.
You can substitute chilli flakes and a tsp of paprika, but I'd use no more than 1 tablespoon, but I am a chilli wimp, so try it and adjust to your own taste preference.
So here is my simple recipe;
2 medium leeks, washed and finely sliced
A colander full of wild garlic, washed and sliced, around 200g
1 organic eating apple, grated
1 tablespoon of finely chopped or grated ginger
1 tsp himalyan fine salt or any natural salt
2 to 4 tablespoons gochugaru chilli powder
Add the sliced leeks and sliced wild garlic leaves and stalks to a large bowl, add the salt and massage and squeeze the leaves until you have some brine.
Add the grated apple, ginger and chilli powder and mix well with your hands. If you don't have much brine then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for an hour or so. The salt will continue to draw out water from the cell walls. Try some of the mix and adjust the amount of chilli to your taste.
Pack tightly into a 500ml glass clip top jar, pressing down tightly to remove any air pockets. There should be enough brine to cover the kimchi.
Add a weight to hold all the veggies under the brine.
A small plastic ziplock bag scrunched on top works well or the bottom end of a butternut squash trimmed to fit the top of the jar, or a glass fermenting weight if you have one.
The idea is just to keep the kimchi submerged in the brine while it is actively fermenting, to create a safe and anaerobic environment for the beneficial bacteria to work their magic!
Then just close the lid, and put a bowl underneath the jar, and leave at room temperature for around 7 days.
Taste then if you are happy with the flavour, then transfer to the fridge, where it will continue to improve.
Your kimchi should have a wee sour tang, with a ginger zing and heat from the chilli, a touch of sweetness from the apple, and an underlying leek, garlicky flavour.
Magic happens when beneficial bacteria and yeasts get to work, creating amazing umami flavour, and that unique fermenty tang!
Kimchi will keep for months in the fridge, allowing you to enjoy it, well after wild garlic season has finished!
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
🍃 Health educator🍃