Wild in the Kitchen: a blog by forager Will Newitt

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th February 2014
This is the first in a series of bi-monthly blogs by Dorset-based forager, Will Newitt, owner of  Down to Earth Bushcraft. Plant name: Wild Garlic (Allium Ursinum) Season: Down here in Dorset, succulent green leaves are already nudging through the forest floor and, by March, they should be wafting through woodlands all over the country. The white flowers burst onto the scene sometime in April and, after this, the flavour of the leaves becomes coarser- although still perfectly edible. Finally the whole plant goes to seed by June. As with any wild resource, considerate foraging is essential to protect the ecosystem. The small bulb is rarely used (it is illegal to dig it up unless on private land anyway).  Location: It favours damp woodlands and is often found growing alongside streams and rivers. A woodland blanketed in wild garlic, sometimes known as ramsons, is a sight to behold and can often be smelt from a hundred metres away or more.  Culinary uses: Wild garlic is becoming increasingly popular for its wonderful aromatic flavour, which is somewhere between conventional garlic and chive. The leaves add an exciting kick to a mixed salad. Or try infusing them in a good quality oil or blitzing them into a pesto- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for this is all over the internet and renowned amongst foraging circles. Cooked, and the flavour mellows somewhat, allowing greater quantities to be used.  Simmered into a creamy soup, baked in a quiche or stirred into risotto are all delicious options. While, Jamie Oliver, another champion for locally sourced food, bakes it into soda bread. In case you’re wondering, the crisp white flowers don't cook well but add a fun splash of colour and fire to a salad or garnish- they are generally more potent than the leaves.  Did you know? In 19th century Switzerland, cows were sometimes fed wild garlic. It gave the milk a distinctive taste which, when churned into butter, created a local delicacy.    Will Newitt Will is a wild food obsessive. He is based in Dorset, where he runs a fledgling bushcraft  business, specialising  in introducing people to the edible pleasures of woodland and hedgerow. More info can be found at www.downtoearthbushcraft.com   Check out Michelin-starred Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park using wild garlic in a recipe for loin of Welsh lamb here  

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th February 2014

Wild in the Kitchen: a blog by forager Will Newitt