What is wild garlic?
Wild garlic is a bulbous plant made with a bulb, a stem, leaves, and a white flower. Wild garlic grows in damp woodlands in Europe and some in the United States. These greens are relatives of the chives family so its use is similar to that of chives. It may be used as garnish flavoring, color and more obviously, it is used as a substitute for garlic cloves. It has that distinct garlic flavor but it is not as strong as the real garlic.
When is the wild garlic season?
The plant, is also known as Bear leek, Bear’s garlic, Broad-leaved garlic, Buckrams, Ramsons, Wood garlic and can grow to heights of between 45 and 50 cm.
Wild garlic is usually foraged when it’s in season and it is great for sauces like pesto. It is gratifying to find other kinds of greens that could be good for pesto!
What are the health benefits of wild garlic?
Pesto alone is a healthy kind of sauce/dip. It is typically made with basil leaves, fresh garlic cloves, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese for flavor.
For the longest time, garlic has been dubbed as one very strong beneficial cooking ingredient for medicinal purposes. It is has plenty of health benefits like being anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal.
Wild garlic, just like garlic, has also a number of health benefits. It decreases blood cholesterol levels, and lowers blood pressure.
Given that wild garlic isn’t cooked in pesto, its health benefits are still very much present when ingesting wild garlic pesto.
How to store and can you freeze wild garlic?
If you plan on cooking with your newly foraged wild garlic within a day or two after collecting, then it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Alternatively, pop the stem in a glass of water and put in the fridge to help stay fresh for longer.
Likewise to frozen fruits or vegetables, wild garlic can be frozen. Just, wash and place in a freezer bag and freeze. . Another advantage freezing wild garlic is that you can cook with wild garlic when it is not available in the forest.
How long does wild garlic pesto last?
Baking huge batches of pesto makes sense most especially if you’re trying to make use of the available produce of the season such as wild garlic in our case. Pesto is great on anything. It could be pasta, bread, pizza or even just a dip with chips.
Wild garlic pesto can last in the chiller for up to about 14 days as long as it is layered with olive oil on top.
You may also freeze the pesto as long as you store them in smaller containers and thaw them out batch per batch.
Which nuts can I use in my wild garlic pesto if I don’t like pine nuts or walnuts?
Pine nuts are traditionally used for making pesto. It’s not they made it in Genoa. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make pesto out of any other kind of nuts. The whole essence of pesto is its color, the garlic zing and the subtle flavor of cheese. You can argue with us on this. But going through different variations of pesto, it’s the greens and the kind of nuts that are usually tweaked.
If you’re wondering what other kind of nut you can use for making pesto that’s not the very expensive pine nuts, you’re in the right page. You may use any nut or seed you want. The purpose of adding a nut or seed into pesto is to create is a good consistency and add a nice, nutty flavor into the pesto.
You may add any nut or seed you wish like cashew, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seed or watermelon seeds. Make sure that before adding any of these into the pesto that you roast them in the oven or a pan to release its nutty flavor into the pesto.
Ingredients for your pesto
- Olive Oil is used for the wild garlic pesto. You could use extra virgin olive oil for this or pomace. The olive oil is a good and subtle flavor addition to wild garlic pizza dough as well.
- Salt, use sea salt for good flavor, Iodized salt may add an unwanted flavor.
- Wild Garlic (Ramson). This leafy green is good for making pesto!
- Pine Nuts and Walnuts. To make this delicious pesto, we’re using both walnuts and pine nuts to mix the two delicious flavors of these nuts.
- Garlic. Another pesto regular added into the wild garlic pesto. In this case, no, wild garlic may not replace garlic in pesto. We need the sharpness of regular garlic for this. This is of course optional. If the Wild Garlic is fresh, you do not need the extra garlic.
- Parmesan Cheese. One of the notable flavors of pesto is the subtle taste of Parmesan cheese. Make sure that your cheese is finely grated.
How to make wild garlic pesto
To make wild garlic pesto is easy! First, make sure your ingredients are ready. Make sure the garlic is peeled, the nuts are toasted and the cheese is finely grated.
Using a food processor, first blend the garlic clove and the nuts together. Add some salt and pepper then the wild garlic. Continue to process the greens while slowly adding the olive oil until it turns into a paste. You may add the finely grated Parmesan cheese while processing or after.
Store in an airtight container and place in the chiller for longer shelf life.
- Food Processor
- 100 gram Wild Garlic
- ½ tbsp Pine Nuts toasted
- ½ tbsp Walnuts toasted
- 2 tbsp Parmesan add more if you like
- 100 ml Olive oil
- 2 cloves Garlic optional
- Using a food processor, blend the garlic and toasted nuts. Add the wild garlic and slowly add in the olive oil. To finish, add the Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Set aside.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta water. Place the pasta in a mixing bowl while the pasta is still hot. Add the wild garlic pesto and 3 TBSP of finely grated Parmesan cheese until it forms a good pasta sauce consistency, latching on to the noodles perfectly.