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Wild Garlic Pesto

A wonderful introduction to cooking with wild food, wild garlic pesto is simple but delicious recipe, that is a staple come Spring for most foragers.

I've always considered blackberries to be the first tender steps into foraging, and after that, Wild Garlic sort of pushes you down the rabbit hole. It signals the very beginning of the abundant Spring after the long Winter, where fresh wild edibles can be difficult to come by, especially in urban areas. This, partnered with the fact that its absolutely delicious, is possibly the reason why it is so hotly anticipated by most foragers.

Foraging for wild garlic

There are a few look-a-likes to watch out for if you plan to forage for Wild Garlic, especially in it's early stages of growth. Be sure not to confuse it with Snowdrops and Bluebells which are also appearing in the woods, as well as Lord and Ladies, all three of which are considered to be toxic if eaten. Always be sure of what you are picking, and try to pick individual leaves for safety and sutsainability.

In places where it grows in abundance, typically damp, old woodlands, you can be certain to be able to forage for a couple of good handfuls of leaves, and later the flowers too. But its still always a good idea to spread out your gather from across multiple different patches to protect the longevity of the plants.

Alongside a generous handful of wild garlic, you'll only need a few basic ingredients to whizzed together in a blender to create this fresh and fiery pesto. It takes only a few minutes to make and can last for up to two weeks when stored in the fridge, but a small jar for us very rarely lasts that long! We use it for pasta sauces, but also for bagels and sandwich fillers. This year I want to try adding it to pastry to make a tear and share bread or lunch roll. Just use it however you would ordinarily use pesto!

wild garlic pesto, lemons and fresh basil


Wild Garlic Pesto

A generous handful of Wild Garlic leaves

A handful of fresh basil leaves

50g pine nuts

50g hard cheese

Pinch sea salt

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

100ml olive oil

  1. If you haven’t already, wash your Wild Garlic thoroughly to remove any dirt, and then tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

  2. Add the leaves, pine nuts, cheese and salt into a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste.

  3. Slowly add the olive oil and lemon juice, and mix to blend.

  4. It can be stored fresh for upto two weeks in the fridge, it can also be frozen to use later.



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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