Welcome to day five of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations to help you lead a balanced life.
Wild Garlic Health Benefits
Whilst walking in the woods with my family, we stumbled across swathes and swathes of wild garlic and I want to tell you about some of its health benefits. It was such a treat to find, especially as I had been searching for some for an incredibly long time! If you preferring watching to reading, please check out the video below, otherwise continue on.
Clear excess Kapha with Wild Garlic
From an Ayurvedic perspective, wild garlic (allium ursinum) has similar properties to its relative bulb garlic (allium sativum). While it is slightly mellower in pungency compared to bulb garlic, especially when cooked, wild garlic can still be quite potent when raw. In the spring, its fire helps combat any excess Kapha. However, if you can’t get hold of any wild garlic, simply use bulb garlic in your cooking instead.
What is Wild Garlic good for?
Wild garlic is one of the most delicious edible plants that natures gifts us in the spring. On its own, it is really good for both the digestive and cardiovascular systems, as well as helping with immunity. When mixed together with wild nettles (which are out in abundance at the moment), wild garlic can really enhance their iron boosting properties.
What do I need to look out for when foraging?
You have to be careful when picking wild garlic.
Many people have confused wild garlic with the visually similar, yet highly poisonous, Lily-of-the-Valley. To avoid making this error when foraging, simply rub the leaves (long, pointed and oval with untoothed edges). If they do not smell of garlic or onions, discard them immediately.
Another way to determine if you have wild garlic is to look at its flowers. Small, white, with six petals on a thin stalk, their design is very similar to that of a star. However, the flowers bloom once the wild garlic leaves start to lose their pungency. You should, therefore, try to pick your garlic before the flowers appear, or else you risk losing most of its flavour.
Responsibly take a few leaves to fulfil your needs. Only take what you need, and don’t over-forage! It is important to store wild garlic properly to avoid it drying out. In order to keep it fresh, I would recommend placing the bottom of the leaf end down in a glass of water and keeping it in the fridge. Hopefully, your garlic will then last for at least a week. Alternatively, you can always freeze it if you don’t use it all up. Simply put it in a freezer bag and freeze.
What parts of the wild garlic plant can be used?
Every part of the wild garlic, from its bulb to its leaves and flowers, are edible.
The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be used to enhance the flavour of more bland foods, or added to sauces for a hint of garlic. Equally, it can be used in pesto as an alternative to basil, finely chopped over potatoes, or tossed in a salad. Add it to my spiced red lentil quinoa stew recipe.
Remember, however, that cooking reduces the taste of garlic. Therefore, add it as late as possible to your dish to retain more flavour. Overall, wild garlic can be used in a similar way to garlic cloves, but as I mentioned before, remember that its flavour is slightly mellower.
Over the next 30 days, I will be sharing even more tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not share your favourite wild garlic recipe? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.