Who of you knows the fresh scent of wild garlic? And who has ever searched for wild garlic in the forest, cut it and then processed it in the kitchen? We did this today in Ticino.
Always on the nose
In Ticino, wild garlic (aglio orsino) is widespread…. and thus also the wild garlic lovers. We are also part of it. On this Sunday morning we went to Serpiano to find the wild garlic.
Thanks to the lockdown, we had free travel, no people. Since this is not the first time we have been looking for wild garlic, we knew where “our” field was. The right place must be shady and moist, so the plant can develop well.
Wild garlic, the close relative of the onion and garlic, is a harbinger of spring and is currently seen along streams and in forests. The herb has become increasingly popular in recent years and is always well represented on the menus of restaurants.
The first leaves of wild garlic are already visible and the optimal season for the harvest of this leek plant has begun. However, the window of opportunity is small, because as soon as it blooms, it loses its aroma. This can be the case from mid-April to early May. Wild garlic can be found up to 1900 meters above sea level, especially in shady, humid forests, along streams and floodplains. It prefers humus, limestone and nutrient-rich soil. It usually occurs in masses and can clothe entire forest floors. Finding it in the forest is easy thanks to its intense smell. When picking, care should be taken to ensure that a leaf of the plant always remains standing. This leaves enough power for renewed growth and flowering in the coming year.
Wild garlic for gourmets
Wild garlic is best eaten fresh and not cooked, otherwise it will lose its flavors. Therefore, it is best prepared as a salad or mixed with quark. In order to make wild garlic last longer, it can be dried or frozen – but this is accompanied by a reduction in its intense aroma. Pesti are tasty, have a longer shelf life and are therefore a good option for using wild garlic.
Wild garlic pesto
For 2-3 sealable glasses (approx. 350 grams) you need:
- 100 g fresh wild garlic
- 50 g pine nuts (or almond sticks)
- 50 g grated Parmesan cheese
- just under 1.5 dl rapeseed or olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- little oil to cover the pesto
- Rinse the jars and lid with hot water and rub dry.
- Wash and dry wild garlic thoroughly, preferably in a salad spinner, then chop coarsely. Together with pine nuts, Parmesan, oil, salt and pepper, process into a paste with the help of a blender or mortar.
- Fill glasses up to two centimeters below the edge. Air holes should be avoided. To do this, carefully pat glasses on a folded cloth a few times. Then fill the glasses with oil up to one centimeter below the edge.