Wellbeing notes: a perfect spring bounty for our times

01/03/2021 at 10:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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One of nature’s biggest harvests is growing fast right now. It’ll be ready to gather towards the end of March, and it will keep on giving until May. This produce brings an array of vitamins and minerals to the table, as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties. And yet this wonder harvest is not farmed. It simply grows wild in ancient woodland. And we can gather its leaves for free. 

The plant is wild garlic. Its botanical name, Allium ursinum, references the fact that bears apparently seek out wild garlic as their first spring food. It is a plentiful, green, spring tonic that gives energy and immunity-boosting benefits to animals weakened by a long hibernation. So this is the perfect time for us to walk in nature, to breathe in the pungent scent of wild garlic and to gather bowlfuls for the cooking pot. 

Be sure to pick the correct plant. Wild garlic is green, with pale stems and white, starry sprays of white flowers. The leaves are a sort of long, floppy arrow shape, and they release their pungent odour when rubbed between fingers and thumb. Never confuse it with other, harmful plants such as lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, which has a purple stem and no odour when rubbed; or broader-leaved lords and ladies, Arum maculatum, which can often be found growing amidst a carpet of wild garlic. 

You can chop wild garlic leaves finely for salads, mix them with butter, simmer them like spinach or blend them into a fabulous pesto. You’ll find some ideas here

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