Wild garlic or Ransoms as they are also known have become popular in the last few years. It's easy to identify, in part thanks to it's pungent smell - particularly as it gets older. It's also nutritious and tasty. Have you ever seen a woodland carpeted with wild garlic? We're lucky to have some bountiful spots near to our holiday cottages in West Sussex. Take a look at our video below for a glimpse of this uncommon sight. As the flowers of the bluebells fade the wild garlic takes centre stage. Little paths winding through the wild garlic rich woodland are really magical, our children love to run and play in them, it's a real adventure - a feast for the senses!
When to Forage Wild Garlic in West Sussex
Wild garlic is straightforward to identify, it has a distinctive leaf shape and strong garlicy smell. Always make sure you take care with your ID. There are some poisonous plants that like to grow in similar places and are often hiding amongst the garlic. The most likely suspect is Lords and Ladies. There are many guides online to help you to identify it. Try this one to identify wild garlic in West Sussex. If you're totally new to plant ID you could take a foraging course in Chichester such as the lovely all year round courses by Foraged by Fern. Foraging even if it only with the eyes and not to collect for eating is one of the most lovely ways to connect with nature. It is an addictive hobby and you will find yourself appreciating the world around you in a new way. Never uproot a wild plant, just take the leaves considerately - one or two from a plant. As a general foraging guide only take one if a plant is plentiful, not a cause for concern in this South Downs woodland as you'll see from our video.
A Forest Floor Covered with Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic Recipes
You can use the leaves like spinach. They are lovely wilted for a moment in a pan with a knob of butter and a grinding of pepper. Simple is best. Every year we collect bundles of wild garlic and turn it into pesto. There are lots of recipes online, in essence you need wild garlic leaves, a hard cheese like parmesan, nuts, lemon juice and oil. Pine nuts are commonly used, but as they are so expensive we often substitute with walnuts or a mix of whatever is in abundance in the cupboard. Whizz it all together and... hey pesto! Freeze it in small tubs or in ice cube trays to use all through the year. Swirl it through risotto, layer it into lasagne or cover a pizza base before adding the toppings, it's a really versatile base to make other ingredients sing.
Dogs & Wild Garlic
Wild garlic is poisonous to dogs, so make sure that your canine companion does not eat any. I've never seen a dog eating wild garlic but it's certainly worth knowing that it is not good for them.
At this time of year when the flowers are out and the smell is very strong you will probably come away from the woods with your boots and your dog smelling strongly of wild garlic. Take them for a dip in the sea or use our dog wash area to freshen them up.
Stay in the South Downs National Park in West Sussex
We'd love to welcome you to our luxury holiday accommodation in West Sussex. The South Downs National Park is a wild garlic hot spot and we are normally one of the first places in the country to be able to harvest this lovely edible.