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Pickled Wild Garlic Seeds

The blooming of the Wild Garlic flowers signals the end of their season; their leaves and flowers are now fading, but there is still one final part of the plant that can be made use of, and preserved to last through the seasons.

A handful of wild garlic flowers gone to seed.

Of all the wild edibles, Wild Garlic is perhaps the most saught after among foragers. The entire plant is edible, from the bulb burried deep in the ground, to the leaves which when very young will leave you tasting garlic all through the day, and to the flowers and seeds which hold such a mighty garlic flavour for such a tiny morsel. Where it grows, it also tends to grow in great abundance, carpeting the woodland floor in vibrant green leaves and delicate white flowers. With such a combination of versatility and abundance it is not difficult to see why it is such a popular plant.

A bright green wild garlic leaf

Wild Garlic flowers usually begin to bloom around the beginning of May, and the apperance of their flowers is a sure sign that its season is drawing to a close. Despite having such a long season of three to four months, I almost always feel a little sadness when the leaves start to yellow and die back; Wild Garlic plays such an important part in our family's Spring menu, the abundance of fresh and fiery foliage is always a great miss as we head through Summer. Different parts of the plant lend themselves quite well to various methods of preserving, which can help to draw out the season a little longer and make Wild Garlic available all year round. Pesto and butter can be frozen, the leaves can be dried and the flower buds can be pickled, but my favourite Wild Garlic preserve (and possibly my favourite wild preserve out of all others) is pickled Wild Garlic seeds, which makes use of the immature seeds which begin to develop around mid-May.

A wild garlic seed head

The seeds usually develop in individual clusters of three, rather like a three leaf clover in appearance. They should be gathered whilsts still green, and the immature seed inside should be white as once the seed has dried and turned black, they are no longer usable for this recipe. The amount you will need to gather will depend entirely on how much you would like to make, but the amounts can be adjusted to suit what you have to hand. Once all of the ingredients are combined, it will take around 4 weeks for the flavour to mature and be ready for use, but it is worth the wait and once completed, they will last for many months and can be enjoyed while you wait for the Wild Garlic season to come around once again.

Wild garlic leaves to the side of a bowlful of wild garlic seeds


Wild Garlic Seed Capers

Wild Garlic Seeds

Sea Salt

Apple Cider Vinegar

Olive Oil (or similar)

  1. Prepare your seeds by snipping off as much of the stem as you can. It doesn't have to be exact as the stems are also edible. Wash them thoroughly and leave them to dry completely.

  2. In a clean, sterilsed glass jar layer the Wild Garlic seeds and salt. No exact measurements are needed here, just make sure you are generous with the salt and its enough to evenly coat the seeds without covering them completely.

  3. Seal the jar with a lid and leave the salted seeds in the fridge for about one week. You can give the jar a shake every other day or so just to make sure the salt is evenly distributed.

  4. After a week, remove from the fridge and rinse the salt from the seeds. Return the seeds to the jar and completely cover with the apple cider vineger. Its a good idea to use a plastic lid here if you can just to minimise the chances of rust. Place the jar back in the fridge and leave for another two to three weeks.

  5. You can use the seeds as they are, but for an extra step I would suggest straining out the vinegar, and covering the pickled seeds with olive oil and placing back in the fridge. When olive oils is kept cold it becomes almost solid, and when combined with the pickled Wild Garlic seeds, it makes a wonderfully 'scoopable' preserve which is incredibly delicious.



The Cramlington Forager

Here I share my own recipes which I use to make the most of seasonal wild food. You'll find handy foraging guides and plant profiles to help get to know the plants which grow all around us, and to start you down your own foraging journey.


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