Recipe | Wild Garlic Pesto

As you walk through the woodland surrounding my village at the moment, you can’t go far without catching heady wafts of wild garlic. A keen foodie and forager, it wasn’t long before my boyfriend sniffed some out during a walk last weekend. As he’s borderline obsessed with it at the moment he suggested I made some wild garlic pesto with it.

It’s safe to say that foraging is not my forte. I enjoy picking wild blackberries and strawberries as I know that’s definitely what they are, but even then I probably wouldn’t eat them before rinsing them first. I certainly wouldn’t trust myself to find anything else, like wild mushrooms, in case I picked something poisonous. However, wild garlic is hard to miss. Its long rubbery leaves and delicate white flowers are easily recognisable and if you’re not sure, tear a leaf in half and you’ll definitely be able to smell the garlic!

Feeling dubious and a bit out of my comfort zone, I revisited the patch of wild garlic one evening this week and picked some leaves to take home. The wild garlic pesto was so quick and simple to make using the following recipe:

Ingredients

  • A bunch of wild garlic leaves
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Thoroughly wash the wild garlic leaves.
  2. Put the leaves, pine nuts, parmesan and oil into a pestle and mortar. Grind until combined and looks like pesto! You can use a food processor to this too.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

I stirred the wild garlic pesto into pasta with asparagus and it made a tasty, inexpensive meal. From walking into the woods and gathering the leaves to filling a mason jar with vivid green, fresh pesto made from a free ingredient, I found the process really satisfying and wholesome.

I was having one of those days when you feel a bit lost and don’t know what to do with yourself. Setting myself the task of going out and making something from scratch gave me purpose. As it is Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important not to underestimate the healing power of doing something small like a going for a brisk walk or surrounding yourself with nature when it comes to clearing your mind.

I’m a bit late to the wild garlic party* this year as the season is just tailing off but there’s still time to pick some before it turns. Why not sniff some out this weekend and make your own wild garlic pesto. I might not be foraging for mushrooms anytime soon but I’m interested to know what else I can find for free in the wilderness.

*if there was such a thing, I know someone who’d be at the top of the guest list!

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