What is Wild Garlic?

Woodland Wild Garlic. Elaine Lemm

A walk in the woods from late January to late Spring where the ground is damp (needed for wild garlic to grow) it does not need to be but often is by a river, stream but often simply damp conditions will suffice. Here you can find wild garlic.  You may not know it is there until you brush alongside it, or on even a mildly sunny day, the sun will have warmed the leaves and there will be an aroma of garlic.

Look down and around you and it will most likely not be hard to spot the glossy, green leaves. 

What Does the Plant Look and Smell Like?

As the name implies, the wild garlic has a distinctive flavour of garlic though not as heavy or pungent but if you pick a leaf and gently squeeze it then take a sniff it will smell, you guessed it, garlicky. This is unlike a similar looking Lily of the Valley Leaf.  If you are foraging for wild garlic it does resemble Lily of the Valley plants but one rub of the leaves will identify which it is simply and without any danger.

What Parts of the Wild Garlic Plant Can You Eat?

All parts of the plant (bulb, leaves and flowers) are edible. 

The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. They make a useful addition to bland foods such as a cream or cottage cheese or used in a sauce for a background hint of garlic.

My favourite way is to add it finely chopped to mashed potato and served with roast lamb or other meats.

It is also delicious added to a bowl of salad.

The bulbs can be used in a similar way to garlic cloves but the flavour is less pronounced.

Once the leaves are starting to lose their pungency, the flowers will appear and these too are edible. Use as a decoration or add to a salad. Make sure you have cleaned then thoroughly to remove any insects which may have made their home inside the flower.


The Definition of Wild Garlic: 

Wild garlic is a bulbous, perennial plant which grows wild in damp woodlands, and often found in fenlands or near water drainage ditches in Britain and wild garlic can also be found throughout Europe.

Wild Garlic is Also Known As:

Alium Ursinum, ramsons, bear's garlic, devil's garlic, gypsy's onions and stinking Jenny

Why Wild Garlic is Good For You

Wild garlic is both antibiotic and antibacterial and is known for helping in reducing blood pressure so why not eat as much of it as you can during its short season.