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Tiptoe through the garlic

At long last spring has decided to show her face, and a hint of green can be seen in the trees and hedgerows.

Walking along the River Arrow – the river that meanders through the town – is always nice at this time of the year, and even more so this year, as winter just didn’t seem to want to go to sleep.

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The dogs never seem to object to going there, even when the footpaths are deep with mud, but today was dry, the dogs feet, all twelve of  them (that’s feet, not dogs :-D) stayed clean and dry.

We watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker, drumming away on the hollow branches of a tree above us, a fascinating sight until he caught us watching him, he then moved off to another tree, that gave more depth to his drumming, looking for a mate perhaps?

The air was heavy with the smell of garlic.

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The sight that greeted us as we walked further round the track soon explained the aroma.

Wild garlic was in abundance everywhere. I’ve just googled wild garlic, according to Wiki:

Latin name Allium ursinum – known as ramsonsbuckramswild garlicbroad-leaved garlicwood garlicbear leek or bear’s garlic

I like the name Bear’s garlic 🙂 it conjures up images of many, many years ago, before mans persecution of this magnificent animal, when wild bears would have roamed and foraged on the land.

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The only bearlike creature  foraging amongst the garlic today was my huge teddy bear of a dog Jasper.

I also checked on the net, to see what part of the plant, was edible, I was surprised to see the whole plant is, leaves, flowers and roots. It did point out though, that the leaves can be mistaken for Lilly of the Valley, which are extremely toxic. There was certainly no doubt when I rubbed my fingers on these leaves though.

I think I need to forage before it vanishes for another year…… recipes anyone?

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I’ll leave you with a photo of the flower, only partly open in this pic, but it looks too pretty to eat.

 

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14 thoughts on “Tiptoe through the garlic

  1. That must have smelt lovely, I like garlic 🙂

    We had a wild garlic ‘appear’ in our garden one year. We have no idea where it came from, I suspect a bird dropped a clove as it flew past. Nothing like our culinary garlics though.

    • It’s far more delicate than the bought version, though it still smells good. I wonder if it’s illegal to dig a plant up, I quite fancy having some in my garden.

  2. I would love to know more about edible weeds-wild plants. I know and am only confident with mushrooms because my Pa taught me. Another post today mentions dandelion leaves and weed salad. I’m unfamiliar with such things. I must try to find a class or someone who knows what’s local and good. The garlic leaves look like they would be lovely to eat, but the flower is way too pretty. I’d like some in the garden too 🙂

    • Wow, lucky you being confident with mushrooms. I even have a fear of the [obvious] mushrooms we get sprouting in our garden where we added some mushroom compost years ago.
      I too would love to be knowledgeable enough to collect natures wild harvest. 🙂

    • Yes dandelion leaves are edible for salad, and so are nettles, although more usually cooked as a stew/broth/soup. This lore came down through my dad’s side of the family although I should also say that his mother was not the world’s best cook, unlike my mother and her mother who were very good.

      • I’ve heard nettle soup is good, as is nettle gnocchi. It’s on my to-do list, to learn about native & local wild edible plants. I watch the Two Hairy Bikers harvesting Samphire and am green with envy.

        • Samphire costs a fortune at the supermarket 😦

          I had a blogging friend who went foraging, think it was Melbourne way, but she’s not been active for a while, otherwise I’d have asked her.

          I would imagine nettle tastes somewhat like spinach. Bit ticklish trying to collect them though 😀

  3. such beautiful images – that top one with 14 feet in it looks has such a great spring mood with all the shades of fresh new green. wonder what DT would have done with it?
     
    in any case, I have never heard of wild garlic. I can imagine a sprig of that would be lovely in a salad. what a great macro of the blossom. i agree with EllaDee – it looks much too delicate and pretty too eat. 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂
      I came across wild garlic several years ago while walking old H through some woodland. The flowers had attracted my camera, and I was puzzled why I could smell garlic when I got down on my hands and knees to take a photo.
      It was only after T mentioned yesterday that I found the whole plant was edible.

  4. Its a lovely time of year, May and we used to have wild garlic all over the place where I grew up (Herefordshire). Your last photo is a beauty and I don’t really think I’d confuse it with Lily of the Valley! The walk looks like dog paradise.

    • I wonder if it is prominent in Herefordshire/Worcestershire because of the many ancient woodlands?
      Thank you for the pic compliment, much appreciated coming from someone who takes amazing photos.
      It was from my little Canon Ixus, which I have used several times for macro, but this time tried the spot metering.

  5. I love the smell of wild garlic too. I think I have always known about it, but never picked/foraged it. I have picked rocket in Spain (before I started growing my own) and if I could ever get to the wild asparagus before the smart Spaniards I would take that too. Spaniards are great foragers.

    I’m sure it’s illegal! A bit like digging up primroses. Try one of the specialist seed companies though eg Chase Organics, they might have something?

    • There’s an interesting site here:

      http://server9.web-mania.com/users/pfafardea/leaflets/garlic.php

      Rather than dig some up, I’ll collect a few flower heads for the seeds 🙂
      Wild Garlic always seems to grow near bluebells and I have plenty of those under a tree in the garden.
      Not stolen I will add, but rescued after the council put a footpath through some local woods, and left hundreds of bulbs lying on top of the piles of removed earth.
      I’ve never seen rocket in the wild, is it a warmer climate plant?
      Mmm, I love asparagus, there’s plenty grown in the vale of Evesham, but again, I’ve never seen it wild.

      • I’ll have a look at the site next.

        Won’t you need to wait for the heads to start setting before you collect them? Says the expert seed collector since she moved to Spain. We had loads of bluebells in the garden when I was a kid. I loved them. So did all the other local kids and used to come in through the hedge and nick them 😀 My parents would try and dig them up every year and failed miserably because they all came back the following year. Luckily. They were into rose beds and bedding plans not bluebells happily growing all over the place.

        Rocket is pretty hardy, but the contrast in climates probably makes the difference. In the UK it grew well for me in summer, but here in Spain it grows at the finca more or less all year around apart from summer (too dry). It’s flowering and going to seed at the moment. It normally self seeds which is why I leave the flowers on, but I’ve got an envelope full of seeds just in case 🙂

        The wild (sprue) asparagus tends to hide itself – presumably from hungry Spaniards – under a prickly plant. Trouble is you need to know exactly when it is coming out and which plants to look underneath. We don’t know either!

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