The spring season provides us with rich, nutritious wild food; much of which we can find growing in our own backyards + wild places! Allium canadense, a member of the lily family - sometimes called meadow garlic, wild garlic or Canadian garlic, is a native perennial here in North America.
A patch of wild garlic growing in a field, the air filled with the spicy aroma of onion/garlic. You will find them by smell faster than you will by sigh;, a tasty spring eat!
In early spring, you will find shoots popping our of the soil, appearing as clumps of grass. The leaves start at the base of the stem, wrapping around it. Canadian wild garlic can grow in various environments; compacted soil, high traffic areas, limestone soils, just about everywhere! In the early summer, these plants will shoot up curly scapes that have a flower head on the tip, white and pink with 6 petals - these scapes are wonderful when pickled! These flower heads later turn in to seed heads. In the fall, one can scatter those dried seed heads + dig up the bulbs of the plant from the earth!
IDENTIFICATION: narrow, erect leaves that grow from the base of the stem; leaves can be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches tall. Canadian wild garlic grows in patches, flowering in late spring to early summer. The plant is most commonly identified by its strong onion/garlic smell. Crushing the leaves in your hand can reveal this aroma. ALWAYS be sure of what you are foraging before consuming wild food.
One of my most favourite wild foods to harvest in the spring - full of flavour + easy to incorporate in to many different meals! Packed with vitamins + minerals; B6 + C,thiamine, iron, magnesium, calcium and more. Being able to forage your own food brings deep connections to the world around us.
WILD GARLIC PESTO
PREP TIME: 5 minutes | TIME TO MAKE: 10 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
- 1/8 cup walnuts [you can use any nuts you like]
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds [you can use any seeds you like, or sub for more nuts]
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1/3 cup wild garlic
- 2 1/2 cups arugula [you can sub arugula for any other leafy green or herb]
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- lemon juice to taste [optional]
SPOT PREP BOWL [left] from KaylaMarie Ceramics
- roughly chop greens. add all ingredients to a food processor or blender
- combine nuts, seeds + greens in your blender or food processor and begin blending - slowly drizzling in olive oil, a little at a time. the mixture should be a beautiful green, smooth mixture [see photo below]
- salt + pepper to taste. you can also add some chilli flakes + lemon juice to taste, if you like. the options are endless!
- enjoy! this makes approximately 1 cup - 1 1/4 cup of pesto + will keep in the fridge for about 5 or so days, but if you want to keep it longer, i recommending freeing it to be eaten on a later date. it freezes wonderfully!
SPOT PREP BOWL [left] from KaylaMarie Ceramics / NOODLE BOWL [right] from Vilks Ceramics
This recipe is simple to make, requires a few ingredients + is very customizable. I added the pesto to pasta with fresh locally grown vegetables - zucchini, asparagus, mushroom + tomatoes! You use it as a dip for fresh vegetables, spread it on a sandwich or wrap, add a spoonful to soup, anything your tastebuds desire. Some other delicious + nutritious wild spring foods that can be added ton this recipe are dandelion leaves, nettles, violet leaves, ramps (wild leeks), wild mustard greens - explore + have fun with your wild food!
Have you harvested Canadian wild garlic before? What is your favourite way to use this native edible? Share your thoughts + comments below. Thanks for reading!