Cooking with Wild Garlic. Recipes and Tips

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Wild Garlic. Foraging & Cooking Food for Free

Wild Garlic. Foraging & Cooking Food for Free

The smell of wild garlic takes me back to the day we moved to Bridge Cottage. As we drove along with a car full of boxes, marvelling at the beauty of the Northumberland countryside, a pungent pong wafted through the car window. Wild garlic. It was growing in abundance along the roadside. Imagine our delight when we discovered it growing along the banks of the burn that runs through the garden. Food for free, and delicious at that.

Here in Northumberland, it is the beginning of March when the wild garlic is poking up, ready to pick. It may well be February if you are in warmer climes. The fresh young leaves can be picked and added to a salad. We planted some salad leaves in the greenhouse in the autumn, and are reaping the benefits now.

Not only is it tasty, but wild garlic is also good for you, proven to reduce blood pressure. Wild garlic has all manner of health benefits too.

I need to check the freezer. We made lots of wild garlic pesto last year. There may well be some packs lurking in the back. I’ll pop some recipes below, and add them to the Bridge Cottage Kitchen page.

wild garlic and nettles

wild garlic and nettles

By far the favourite recipe of last year was for wild garlic and blue cheese scones – delicious with a bowl of soup. – you can also add nettles to many of these recipes, but be careful to pick with gloves and take note that nettles will still sting until wilted or cooked. Don’t do what a friend of mine did, and use nettles in pesto without wilting first. She, unfortunately, tasted a spoon of nettle pesto and stung her mouth and throat. It could have been a lot nastier than it was. I’ll write more about nettles in a month or so, when they’re properly up.

Blue Cheese & Wild Garlic Scones

Blue cheese and wild garlic scones

Blue cheese and wild garlic scones


225g plain or spelt flour

3 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt, half tsp English mustard powder

50g cold butter

125g blue cheese (or any strong cheese)

2 tbsp washed & chopped wild garlic (nettle tops and chives work well too)

60ml cold milk

1 beaten egg


Scones are best handled as little as possible. I use a food processor, but mixing by hand is fine

Sift flour, baking powder, salt & mustard. Grate in the butter, cheese, & mix with wild garlic and nettles. Mix in egg & milk with a clawed hand, adjusting the amount of liquid to give a soft, slightly sticky dough. (Scones are better on the wet side rather than dry).

Tip onto a floured worktop and handling as little as possible, knead gently then press down into a flat shape about 3cm thick. Cut into shapes, top with a little cheese or egg & milk from the jug you used.

Bake at 220 deg (200 deg fan) Gas 7 for 12 minutes.

Serve with butter. Delicious with some wild garlic and nettle soup.



Add a couple of good handfuls of wild garlic to about 200ml of olive oil, a handful of nuts (eg walnuts, cashew or pine nuts), 50g grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, and blitz in a food processor.

Add your pesto to pasta for a simple but tasty lunch or rub onto chicken. Wild garlic and chicken go very well together.

I like to make several batches and freeze them in small bags. There is nothing better in the depths of winter than to go foraging in the freezer and finding little bags of spring wild garlic pesto to use for lunches.


Wild garlic leaves can be added whole to salads or chopped according to taste. Use instead of spring onions for a mild, oniony taste, but with the added zing of garlic. They make an interesting addition to a cheese sandwich married with a touch of mayonnaise.

Salad dressing can also be made more interesting with finely chopped wild garlic leaves or add to mayonnaise or butter.


In his iconic foraging guide, Food for Free, written many moons ago, Richard Mabey tells us that wild garlic goes handsomely with tomatoes

Richard tells us to take advantage of their size and lay them criss-cross over sliced beefsteak tomatoes’. I like to chop them finely and add to chopped tinned tomatoes for a quick and tasty tomato sauce that can go with pasta, or as an accompaniment to fish cakes.

Alternatively, make simple tomato salsa, by chopping fresh tomatoes with finely chopped wild garlic, and fresh deseeded chilli, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

wild garlic and nettle soup

wild garlic and nettle soup

Wild garlic can be used with young nettle tops for a healthy, delicious soup, or for the meat-eaters amongst us, simply add to chicken stock and blitz for a delicious wild garlic soup.

I’m off to pick some wild garlic to use tonight with simple mayonnaise to have with our chips.

Happy foraging, but remember to forage responsibly – leave plenty for others and for wildlife.

Wild Garlic. Foraging & Cooking Food for Free

Wild Garlic. Foraging & Cooking Food for Free



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You might enjoy some of the writing and ideas in other sections of this website, as we look towards leading more sustainable lives by growing our own food and creating dishes in line with seasonal eating, or head to our handy ‘Month by Month’ guides to find out what we have been doing here at Bridge Cottage as the months go by:


Many thanks for reading.

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Tim & Sue in the Bridge Cottage Way garden

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