Wild garlic is a popular garlic alternative. For the best taste, there are a few things to consider when harvesting. Not only the right time is crucial, but also the way.© eflstudioart - Fotolia.com
Those who harvest wild garlic (Allium ursinum) and use it in their own kitchen immediately after harvesting can benefit from the best possible taste of the plant.
But when is the best harvest time so that wild garlic is really tasty as a fine spice? And what else is there to consider when harvesting this wild garlic? All hobby gardeners who are interested in this topic will find the appropriate answers below.
When is the best time to harvest wild garlic?
The ideal time to harvest wild garlic is before flowering. Although the rumor that wild garlic is poisonous after flowering and should therefore no longer be eaten persists, this is not the case. As soon as wild garlic has blossomed, the consistency of the leaves changes. They become more fibrous, which in turn has a negative effect on the taste. The refinement of various dishes with a hint of wild garlic does not work so well anymore.
If you want to harvest really tasty wild garlic leaves, you do this from March to April, as well as regionally sometimes until early May. However, the exact time of harvest cannot be defined in general, since various location factors such as the following play a decisive role in this context:
- from when the wild garlic sprouts on the forest floor
- the regional climate
- the weather situation in the respective year
Harvest wild garlic like capers
Especially those hobby gardeners who love the taste of capers should closely monitor the wild garlic bloom at their location. As long as the blossoms of the wild garlic have not yet blossomed, the buds can be harvested wonderfully and then inserted. They later develop an aroma that comes very close to that of capers.
Harvesting wild garlic correctly - that's how it works
When harvesting the wild garlic, a process that is as concentrated as possible is required. This is especially true in the forest and only to a limited extent in the hobby garden. Because in the wild there are a number of plants that look very similar to wild garlic. This can lead to unsightly mix-ups, since some of these plants are unfortunately poisonous and it is better not to eat them. Therefore, all wild garlic fans should know how to recognize the plant.
To do this, it makes sense to simply grate a leaf that you think is wild garlic between your own fingers. If there is now a smell reminiscent of fresh garlic, the chances are extremely good that it is indeed wild garlic. Because this smell is characteristic of the plant. Then the leaves can be harvested cheerfully.
A small plastic bag is very helpful when harvesting. So the leaves of the wild garlic are not only easy to collect. Rather, they also keep their freshness in this way. However, this only applies if the bag is then inflated and knotted with all the air inside.
Because then the leaves cannot be pressed together so easily when transported home. This is good for the aroma. This protection also ensures that the wild garlic can hold its moisture better and therefore tastes great longer. In addition, a little water can be added to the bag to keep the wild garlic freshness. The freshly harvested wild garlic stays fresh for up to seven days in the fridge, as long as it is wrapped in a piece of damp kitchen towel and is not squeezed.
It is better not to harvest too much wild garlic in one fell swoop
Those who harvest wild garlic not in the forest but in their own hobby garden should be careful not to remove too much wild garlic in one go. Because then the plant can be difficult to regenerate. So it makes sense to cut only as many leaves as are to be used immediately. It is important to use scissors or a sharp knife. If only one or two leaves are removed from each wild garlic plant, this is the most gentle for the plants.
If you want to harvest wild garlic in the forest and maybe only come there for one day, you can also take larger quantities. Although fresh wild garlic with the best aroma can draw attention to itself, there is definitely the possibility of drying or pickling wild garlic. If you like, you can stock up on large quantities of wild garlic in the forest and process it accordingly as soon as possible.
Harvesting wild garlic - is there a risk of fox tapeworm infection?
Especially when the so-called wild garlic is harvested in the wild, it is rumored again and again that it is possible to become infected with the fox tapeworm via the wild garlic. There is no scientific evidence, although caution is still required. At least that's what the Robert Koch Institute says, which recommends washing off all food that grows close to the ground.
If it is a risk area with an increased risk of infection, it is also important that the freshly harvested wild garlic leaves are not only washed thoroughly, but also boiled or alternatively dried. This step can prove to be very useful for your own health in the following regions:
- on the Swabian Alb
- in the Allgäu
- in Upper Swabia
- in the Alb-Danube region
Bear's garlic, which is fresh, tastes much better than dried or boiled wild garlic. Depending on the current risk situation, it is therefore necessary to question whether the wild garlic harvest makes any sense in the regions mentioned.
Harvest wild garlic leaves as a spice
Whether in soups or in salads, freshly harvested wild garlic can be used in many ways in your own kitchen. This is shown, for example, by the following list, which lists various uses of the forest garlic as a spice: