Wild Garlic Pesto | A foraged how-to

Wild GarlicWild garlic carpets the woodland floorA filled foraging basketWild Garlic Pesto IngredientsA jar of wild garlic pesto

Hello spring! How’s about a little recipe to kick us off with you…

The woodland floor is carpeted with this unfailingly recognisable bit of wild at the moment. The newest leaves are up and this garlic infusion to our country walks is set to stay this way for the next few months.

Wild garlic is an easy forage, making it a great way to kick off your foray into foraging if it’s your first go. It’s also pretty lovely because in these colder months when you have to work that bit harder to make the most out of nature’s larder, this one is in abundance and a pretty fail safe fella.

All you need to make a jar’s worth is 3 or 4 cups of wild garlic leaves, a good squeeze of lemon/lime, half a cup of pine nuts, a cup of parmesan and a few glugs of olive oil. Simply (and I mean simply), blend all of these ingredients together with a spot of seasoning and there you have it- an impressive garlic pesto.

The great thing about this recipe is that it really is down to your taste buds; add more citrus for that extra tangy zing or more pine nuts for a nutty undertone. You can also add more olive oil to make it in to more of a pasta sauce if that is your plan.

Anna Jones in her fab book ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ suggests you can mix any herb with any nut and a host of different accents to make a cracking pesto if you want to take your wild garlic up a pesto-y notch…

Before you crack on into the woods, baskets at the ready, a heads up- it is a pretty pokey one this and that strong wild smell is set to fill your house as you get your cook on but I promise it’s a worthy price for a jar of homemade foraged goodness.

Plant Markers | A [hardly] how-to

Handmade Plant MarkersPlant MarkerPlant Markers

I don’t want to lie to you- this ‘how-to’ can only just count as so. It’s primarily born from an excuse for me to play with my knife and be in the greenhouse, but I reckon that’s as good a reason as any.

Better looking than a lollipop stick and free to boot, you can stick this stick in your seed trays and plant pots to identify what exactly is growing in there. We are partial round our house to planting unknown seeds and so have ‘miscellaneous’ plant markers as well as a ‘perhaps peach?’ stick or two (not one to discriminate, every plant qualifies for the handmade identifier…).

You’ll need a small carving knife, a stick which is about a cm or so thick (X a whole bunch), a hand saw/shears and a biro (a sharpie, due to the greenwood, just won’t do the job).

First off you’ll need to forage for your sticks- if you can’t find enough on the ground use your shears to pluck a suitably sized stick from your garden tree and the saw to cut them to size (make sure you are careful of fingers and thumbs doing this). Somewhere near one end of your stick and using your knife peel off an inch or so of bark. Keep going over this area till you have a space wide enough to write on (you could even get little people to help you out here using a peeler). At the other end you want to make a spike to go in to the soil- striking away from you, use you knife at an angle to get that sharp diagonal cut.

It’s pretty simple. Just write on what you need and wahey- genuinely useful and handsome plant markers and a somewhat legitimate excuse to while away time in your greenhouse with a cuppa as Radio 4 hums in the background…