Have you ever walked down a country lane and smelt the heady scent of wild garlic? Living in the centre of London this doesn't happened to me very often! I vividly remember driving down the lane to Coombe Mill Farm in Cornwall whilst on holiday there with the windows open and the smell suddenly filling the car. I don't think I knew what the smell, or the luscious looking green leaves were at first and it was only when I later signed up to a local veg bag scheme and started to get wild garlic that I made the link.
Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, buckrams and bear's garlic - amongst other names, has a short season here in the UK. The plant flowers in spring and fills the air with a strong garlic scent.
It really is truly delicious but sometimes it's hard to know what to do with it. If you're wondering what to do with your wild garlic leaves then making it into a simple pesto is a great and healthy way to use it - and also a convenient way to get suspicious children to try it. Pesto must be the perfect hidden veg recipe - as long as your kids like it of course. I've used all kinds of green things in pesto - kale, broccoli, spinach as well as herbs and they've gobbled them all up not noticing that they're not eating the classic basil pesto.
Harvesting some wild garlic with your children would also be a brilliant way to encourage them to try it should you live near some. Be sure you know what to look for if you do as its leaves are similar to several poisonous plants.
Ingredients (serves two adults, three children)
35g wild garlic
20g pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan (you can leave this out if you want a vegan pesto - it still tastes great)
Salt and pepper
Place all the ingredients together in a food processor and process well. You might need to scrape down the sides a few times.
Feel free to double or even triple the quantities if you have more leaves available You can store it in the fridge for a few days in a jar - top it up with olive oil to cover the pesto and stir well before serving.
Serve with pasta. It's lovely with broccoli and mushrooms stirred through too.