Can you eat wild garlic bulbs?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat wild garlic bulbs?” and discuss how to store them?
Can you eat wild garlic bulbs?
Yes, you can eat wild garlic bulbs. The leaves, stems, and blooms of wild garlic may all be used. In a salad, the blooms look fantastic. It is possible to use the bulbs once the leaves have fallen down, but they are less flavorful and do not keep as well as farmed garlic bulbs. All the bulbs have to be eaten in order to acquire any further pieces.
Globally, the garlic market was dominated by the Asian. The largest garlic trade balance was dominated by Asia (67%) and followed by Europe (20%) and the rest is from America, Africa and Oceania. China was the biggest garlic producer, consumer and exporter in Asia and in the world. In 2013, China’s garlic export exceeded 1.6 million tons or more than 80% world export (1).
Wild garlic may be cultivated from seed or bulbs, whichever is most convenient for the home gardener. To preserve the bulbs, you must keep them wet, otherwise they dry up and perish rapidly. During the growth season, the bulbs may be easily transplanted, avoiding the issue of forgetting where you put them!
Garlic (Allium sativum L., Amaryllidaceae) likely originated in Central Asia. The plant has been used as a flavoring agent and a traditional medicine since antiquity, and is now cultivated worldwide. Allium vineale L. (wild garlic, crow garlic) is native to Great Britain, most of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The plant has been introduced to North America, Australia, and New Zealand (2).
As a reminder to anybody visiting Scotland, you may take leaves, blooms and seeds from a plant without permission for your personal use, but you cannot remove the plant from its natural habitat (such as by transplanting a bulb) or harvest it for commercial purposes. Ask the owner whether you wish to do any of these things.
Exactly what is wild sage?
You may think of it as the wild relative of the garlic you use in the kitchen. Wild garlic is a bulbous perennial herb endemic to the United Kingdom that emerges as short shoots in February, blooms in April, and sets seed in June.
The Herbal plant under the names of “wild sage,” “eupatorium” and “lilifagus,” may correspond with Salvia fruticosa, a common wild and cultivated plant near Salerno. This plant is extremely popular among the Palestinians of Israel in the treatment of heart disorders. For colds, coughs and influenza it is used in Antalya, Turkey, and in North Africa the infusion of leaves and young shoots of S. fruticosa is employed for similar purposes as it is among the Arabs of Israel (5).
However, it should not be mistaken for the other edible wild allium, three-cornered leek, as wild garlic is also known as ramsons.
Farmers’ markets and commercial harvesting have brought this once-exclusive item to the attention of home cooks and chefs with an eye toward seasonal ingredients, but now it’s a must-have for the spring menu. When it comes to foraging, nettle is one of the most sought-after treasures.
Allium vineale has been used as a substitute for A. sativum in cooking; the bulb is used as a flavoring agent and the leaves as an addition to salad. Cherokee Native Americans used both A. vineale and A. sativum as carminatives, diuretics, and expectorants (2).
How long does it take for wild garlic to bloom?
Garlic in the wild has one of the most extended growing seasons. Small, fragile micro herb-like growth appears from February through March; the plant reaches its full leafy splendor in late March. Shoots emerge throughout the fall, and reproductive stalks typically appear in mid spring. Plants require a cold treatment to induce stalk formation. Wild garlic is best managed by late fall to early spring tillage. The optimal time for tillage is when two foliage leaves are well formed (do not count the short sprout leaf, which quickly withers) (3).
The lovely salad-enhancing star-shaped blossoms bloom around mid-April. Later, the blossoms set seed and become bitter, although the seeds may still be eaten raw or pickled like capers, depending on the preparation..
What is the edible portion of wild garlic?
Wild garlic is one of the best things about it since you can eat it both raw and cooked. There are many uses for the underground bulb, which must be harvested with the permission of the landowner, including salad leaves, scatter herbs, chopped leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds, which can be preserved like capers for later use in salads.
The bulbs are occasionally used to flavor cooked dishes, but most people consider the flavor much inferior to that of domestic garlic. The bulbs do, however, contain substantial concentrations of the same beneficial antioxidants found in domestic garlic. Livestock readily eat wild garlic leaves and shoots, but consumption of fresh material can taint milk and meat. The flavor persists through the silage making process, but is not present in dried hay (3).
The flowers and seeds can also be used as a garnish and the seed pods can be pickled like a caper for later in the season.
Do you know how to collect wild garlic the best way?
Just a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy and a pair of scissors are all you need to collect wild garlic. With permission to dig up the edible bulbs, use a gardening shovel. With a pair of scissors, “picking” wild garlic is as easy as snipping the leaves or whole plant.
Below-ground bulbs are egg shaped, have papery coverings and can also develop in segments from the main bulb. A fibrous root system emerges from bulb bases. Stalks are unbranched, round, smooth, waxy, leafless, and solid-cored; the top of the stem gives rise to either aerial bulblets or flowers that emerge from a sheathed globular structure. Aerial bulblets are small and teardrop shaped, with a thin, green leaf emerging from the top (3).
How to safely and responsibly gather wild garlic
Lords and Ladies, the most frequent deadly plant, might be confused for it, but the identification is in the perfume – none of the other plants will have the garlic scent. Good Food recommends that anybody interested in foraging does it under the guidance of someone with relevant expertise and training and that they consult reputable foraging publications and websites.
Ask the landowner for permission before picking anything and only take what you need. Never consume anything you’re not sure about.
How should wild garlic be stored?
A plastic bag in the salad drawer of your fridge is the perfect place to store freshly harvested wild garlic. Wild garlic leaves may be stored in this manner for 3-4 days, but the blooms should be utilized on the same day that they are harvested. In general, herbs can be stored for up to 10 days in the refrigerator (4).
How should wild garlic be prepared?
If you’re going to consume wild garlic, wash it well in cold water before eating it to get rid of any creepy crawlies that could be hiding in there. Salads benefit greatly from the addition of the young leaves, flowers, and seed pods, while the flower stalks may be used in place of chives. It is possible to wilt larger leaves like spinach or blitz them for use in sauces such as pesto or oil-based salad dressings.
Wild garlic pairs well with lamb, trout, salmon, and fresh potatoes, all of which are in season now.
To learn more about eating wild garlic click here
Other FAQs about Garlic that you may be interested in.
Can you eat the green part of garlic?
Can you substitute garlic powder for garlic?
In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat wild garlic bulbs?” and we discussed how to store them?
- Amanda, Dea, Yusman Syaukat, and Muhammad Firdaus. Estimating the market power in the Indonesian garlic industry. J Int Soc South Asian Agric Sci, 2016, 22, 66-79.
- Satyal, Prabodh, et al. The Chemical Compositions of the Volatile Oils of Garlic (Allium sativum) and Wild Garlic (Allium vineale). Appl Essent Oils Food Sys, 2018, 16.
- Wild Garlic. Cornell University.
- FoodKeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Rivera, Diego, Conchita Obon, and Francisco Cano. The botany, history and traditional uses of three-lobed sage (Salvia fruticosa Miller)(Labiatae). Econ Botan, 1994, 48, 190-195.