Wild Garlic Pesto

It’s wild garlic or Ransoms season. You will definitely smell it before you see it. It has a strong garlic smell which is the best indicator for identification.

Wild garlic is another really nutritious wild edible. It contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper. Studies have shown that it may help reduce blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. All of the garlic family do this but Wild garlic is particularly good for this.

With wild garlic you just use the leaves in a recipe and leave the bulbs to grow again. It is actually illegal to uproot wild plants without the land owners permission.


Wild garlic can be used for many recipes. We have used wild garlic in a potato salad, with salt to make a seasoning, mixed into hummus, shied into cream cheese, added to scrambled egg and as a pesto with pasta like in this recipe that I will tell you about now.

You will need

50g of pine nuts (lightly toasted) or other nuts

50g of Parmesan or other cheese

150ml oil

150g wild garlic leaves.

A squeeze of lemon juice.


Method

First rinse and pat dry your wild garlic leaves then chop them roughly.
Next add all your ingredients to your blender and blend until it is in a paste.


Add your pesto to a jar with a lid. It should keep for a week in the fridge.

We added ours to a nettle pasta we made which was delicious. Check out my blog for the nettle pasta recipe.


Nettle Pasta

We love nettles (Urtica Dioica) here at Forgotten Forest. They are so nutritious. Full of vitamins and minerals. It has vitamin A C K and B. It is full of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium as well as many others. It act as an antioxidant inside your body to protect you from free radical. It really is a super food… it’s everywhere and it’s free too.

We have used nettles for food and medicine throughout history but unfortunately their amazing properties are often forgotten

Some of the the brilliant recipes you can make are Nettle soup, crisps, nettle, beer, tea, latte, seed balls, risotto, pasta filling and as a spinach substitute.

I have made a quite successful nettle cake too.

The seeds can be dried and added to a nettle seed ball for an energy boost too.

All the children love to try nettle crisps and and nettle tea at Forgotten Forest. It’s such an easy one to forage as it is unmistakable. There is the sting to watch out for but some marigold gloves stop the sting. The top young leaves are the best to eat. It is also important to make sure you don’t forage for nettles after they seed (around June) . They become quite bitter and can have a laxative effect and they can upset urinary tracts.

Nettles are often said to be detoxifying and that is usually because it makes us urinate more. If you are taking medications you can end up concentrating the effects in your body so it is always worth checking with your doctor if you are pregnant, on medication or breast feeding.

Heating the nettles helps to breakdown the sting. Usually by boiling or frying but you can bash it too to break the stings.

I have recently made a gorgeous nettle pasta after getting a pasta machine as a present.

Nettle pasta is really easy to make you just need

100g of flour

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

5 nettle tops

this makes enough of one generous portion.

Ingredients

Method

Put your flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add your egg into the middle.

Grind your nettles using a pestle and mortar or a blender. Sprinkle into your mixture.

Mix up throughly until you can form a ball with your mixture. Then you need to knead it vigorously for 5 minutes.

Roll out your dough with a rolling pin. If you have a pasta machine you can pop it through to make it really thin. Then put it through again to slice it. If you don’t have a pasta machine then you can roll it thinly and slice with a knife.

Boil your pasta for 5 minutes in a pan and drain. Then add your usual pasta sauce. We made a gorgeous wild garlic pesto for ours and added Scarlett elf cup mushrooms.



Check my other blog for wild garlic pesto recipe.


Wild Garlic Breakfast Muffins

These wild garlic breakfast muffins are delicious and easy to make. Perfect, now the wild garlic is popping up in some places.

Remember to forage sustainably and make sure you are 100 percent on your identification. There are some poisonous lookalikes. The give away is their strong garlic scent when you rub the leaves.

You will need

to preheat your oven to 180 degrees

a hand full of wild garlic (chopped)

50g of cheese (optional)

125ml of oil (or melted butter)

300g of plain flour

1/2 ts of salt

1/2 ts of baking powder

125ml of milk

2 eggs

Mix all your ingredients together in a bowl. Do this by hand to make sure it stays muffin like. You should get a thick dough.


Grease a muffin tray and scoop in your dough.

Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it’s golden brown.

They are delicious warm. I also made some wild garlic butter that goes perfectly with it.

Keep them in an air tight container and they should last about 4 days. Great for a picnic snack whilst you are out foraging. Enjoy. Let me know if you try them. You could add all sorts of different ingredients such as carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes too.

Patterned Dyed Eggs

It’s coming up to Easter 🐣 so I thought I would try and get ahead of myself and write a little ‘How to guide’ on making these gorgeous patterned eggs.
We have an abundance of eggs as we keep free range hens. The white eggs work perfectly and the brown eggs work good too but it’s not as vibrant.

You will need eggs, flowers or leaves for the pattern, old tights, elastic bands or string, pans of water and dye. We have used natural dyes such as onion skins, tumeric, beetroot and red cabbage. You could of course use any food dyes you have for baking.

First you need to carefully place a flower or leaf onto the egg. Then place your tights around the egg and put an elastic band around the opening. It needs to be tight to hold your flower in place. If you want to do quite a few then you can use sections of tights with bands and string and both edges of the cuts.

Get your pan to the boil with all your natural dyes in.

Carefully place your eggs with their flower and tights on them into the pans. Let them boil for around 20 minutes.

Once they have boiled take the eggs out an let them cook. Check one and see how the colour has taken. You could always add it in longer if needed.

Unwrap your egg from the tights and carefully peel off the plant matter to reveal some gorgeous prints. These make perfect Easter hunt eggs or great just to decorate more. You can also eat the egg inside too.

Enjoy and let me know if you have a go. Hopefully we will get to make these at a class this year. A great Easter Activity. We love doing this at Forest School.