Spring is well and truly on the way (even if our current weather system may suggest otherwise!). As the countryside begins to awaken from it’s slumber and the first signs of spring start to show our days are getting longer and it feels like winter is nearly behind us for another year. With spring comes the rustling of hibernating animals beginning to stir and the sometimes bizarre dances of birds thinking about coupling up and nesting down. Buds begin to appear on the trees and seasonal flowers start to bloom as slowly and surely our previously dormant landscape comes alive with colour and new life.
One sure sign that our farm is waking up is the thick carpet of wild garlic, or ramsons, that has erupted and now blankets the banks of our ancient woodlands. A faint aroma of mellow garlic permeates the air as you wander through the woods at this time of year which feels slightly out of place so far removed from a kitchen setting. With a slightly more subtle flavour than traditional bulb garlic the leaves of this plant aren’t only native to the UK but are also delicious. In continental Europe it is known as bear’s garlic due to being a favourite of the brown bear still present there. The latin for wild garlic is Allium ursinum, where Allium places it in the garlic family and ursinum refers to the latin ursa for bear. They dig up the bulbs and snack on them in the spring after waking up from hibernation, reportedly to get their digestive tracts back up and running after their long sleep. This is a popular property of this plant, it is traditionally used throughout Europe as a spring tonic and is favoured for it’s blood purifying properties. It is also said to lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of diseases like heart attacks and strokes. If you don’t mind having a slightly garlicky breath it’s definitely worth giving this seasonal leaf a try!
Wild garlic is quite versatile and is great for using to make pesto or seasoning soup. It can also be used in salads to add a subtle flavour to the greens or try putting it in a sandwich for a similar effect. Here I’ve adapted a scone recipe to incorporate wild garlic leaves which creates a delicious savoury treat, perfect with a cup of tea on these wilder spring days. Simply serve cut in half, with a generous knob of butter spread on top and enjoy. You can find wild garlic leaves in our online shop in 100g, 200g, 500g and 1kg quantities for a limited time only, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes 20 scones
100g wild garlic leaves
500g self-raising flour
250g grated cheddar cheese
4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 220˚C (200˚C fan or Gas Mark 7) and lightly grease or line two baking trays.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt before rubbing in the butter to create a crumbly texture.
- Rinse and roughly chop the wild garlic leaves before adding to the mixture along with the grated cheese. Slowly add the milk, mixing as you do to create a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to bring together. Gently roll out to approximately 2cm thick and using a 5cm diameter cutter begin to cut into rounds.
- Place these on the prepared baking trays and knead together the offcuts to repeat until all of the dough has been used.
- Using some extra milk brush the tops of the scones before putting in the pre-heated oven to bake for 12-15 minutes (or until risen and golden brown).
- Cool on a wire rack before serving.