Foraging in Scotland, plus a recipe for delicious wild garlic pesto

Springtime in Scotland is a great time to get out and about. It’s school holidays, so I took the kids out to Pencaitland looking for wild garlic. It grows in abundance throughout spring and is pretty easy to find in woodlands or alongside riverbanks.

It’s quite safe to pick – you don’t have to be any kind of foodie expert - just look in semi-shaded areas for the plant’s broad, pointed leaves and little white flowers - one whiff and you’ll know if you’ve found the right thing.

Earlier in the season you are likely to find little buds on the plants, before the white flowers appear. You can eat both parts of the plant, but once the flowers start to appear the taste becomes a little more bitter.

The buds can be used to add flavour, as you might add little onions or chives to a dish, and can be used in pasta sauces and risottos. They have a milder flavour than shop-bought garlic.

Wild garlic leaves can be eaten raw, adding flavour to spring salads, or lightly cooked to add extra flavour to dishes.

We found plenty of this white-flowered little herb and a great time was had foraging in the fresh air before we headed home to whip up some wild garlic pesto. Try out the recipe below yourself and see just how easy it is.

Ingredients

  • 150ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g wild garlic leaves, well washed
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • Salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Method

Put everything apart from the Parmesan and seasoning into a food processor, then blend it all to a paste. Empty out into a bowl then stir in the Parmesan, sugar, and a little salt and pepper to taste, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!