The first signs of spring are starting to show on Morghew Park Estate – most notably (and fragrantly) in the form of young, fresh wild garlic leaves pushing their way through last autumn’s leaf litter. Wild Garlic is one of my favourite leaves, it’s simple, versatile and good for you too:
‘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!’ (see Wild Garlic and Cheese Scones).
Whilst this leaf is popular in pestos, soups and salads this year I’ve been working on a Wild Garlic Hummus recipe. Whilst it deceptively resembles guacamole this tasty dip packs a punch and is full of natural flavour. A perfect, seasonally springtime snack.
Wild Garlic Hummus
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- If using canned chickpeas drain and rinse before pouring into a food processor and blend until you achieve a dough-like consistency.
- Add the remaining ingredients (apart from the crushed chillies) and process until fully mixed. You may like to add an extra spoonful of oil if you’d like a smoother texture.
- Sprinkle with crushed chillies if desired and serve immediately! This hummus will keep if covered and in the fridge for up to 4 days.