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Just in time for the beginning of spring, healthy wild garlic brings a tasty change to the menu, banishes spring tiredness and provides an all-round sense of well-being. In the forest and natural garden, the harvest is in full swing from March. When the white umbels of flowers appear in April and May, wild garlic fans are unsure whether wild garlic buds are edible or poisonous. This guide provides clarity about the harvest, consumption and use of wild garlic flowers.

Delicious, healthy and edible

In April and May, the incomparable scent of wild garlic, reminiscent of garlic, pervades our forests. Numerous collectors view the dainty green buds and white umbels of flowers with unease. Some herbs are no longer edible at this stage or even become poisonous. At this point, the all-clear can be given for wild garlic blossoms. The buds and flowers are not only tasty but also healthy thanks to the following ingredients.

Constituents of the buds and flowers:

  • vitamin C
  • magnesium, iron and other minerals
  • essential oils with healing powers
  • Mustard oil for the hot taste

One of the special advantages of wild garlic plants is that the aroma and taste are similar to garlic, but do not cause the dreaded bad breath.

use in the kitchen

Palate ticklers from the forest

There are plenty of recipe suggestions for preparing wild garlic leaves. What is less well known is that you can also use the buds and blossoms to round off cold and warm dishes with culinary delights. We looked over the shoulder of creative chefs and put together some delicious variations with fresh and pickled wild garlic buds for you.

Enjoy freshly harvested

Since the wild garlic blossoms and buds do not keep for long, experienced friends of natural cooking recommend using them freshly harvested. Sprinkle the stalks with water, shake dry and pluck off both the flowers and buds.

This is how the harvest tastes particularly good:

  • Spread on farmhouse bread with butter or cream cheese
  • mix with good butter, lemon juice and salt and use as herb butter
  • Sprinkle hot jacket or jacket potatoes with fresh blossoms and buds
  • give grilled fish and meat the finishing touch with blossoms and buds

Naturally mild dishes such as zucchini, tomato soup or cucumber salad get a slightly hot and spicy aroma with the blossoms and buds of wild garlic. Gravy and stews also benefit in taste from the mild garlic aroma. So that it doesn't overcook, the chef only adds blossoms and buds to the dish at the very end.

caper substitute

Refined caper substitute

Wild garlic buds put a culinary solo on the kitchen floor as a smart substitute for capers. In contrast to the real caper bush from the Mediterranean, wild garlic thrives as a hardy, native forest perennial. With its buds, the wild plant provides delicious capers as a by-product when the caper bush is still in hibernation.

How to prepare:

  • pluck the buds from the stems
  • toss in the sieve under running water and drain
  • fill a jar with the buds
  • Bring 250 ml herb vinegar, 40 g sugar, salt and peppercorns to the boil in a kettle

Pour the marinade over the buds in the jar and close it tightly with the screw cap. Leave the wild garlic capers in a cool, dark place for 1 week, ideally turning the jar upside down. The finished capers are then a refined delicacy on their own or as an addition to all kinds of sauces.

Medicinal as a tea

Even the herbalist Künzle swore by the healing powers that slumber in wild garlic. He included the entire plant, including leaves, flowers and buds. The highly praised herbal plant is primarily useful for the natural cleansing of the stomach, intestines and blood vessels. A weakened immune system, skin rashes and anemia are things of the past if wild garlic is regularly fed into the body, for example as a tea.

It is primarily the sulphurous, essential oils that eliminate pollutants and thus have a strong detoxifying effect. Since its effectiveness has been scientifically proven, pharmacology has also resorted to wild garlic. How to use wild garlic blossoms and buds to alleviate health problems.

Here's how to do it:

  • Harvest flowers and buds, shower over and drain
  • Pour boiling water over and leave to stand for 15 minutes
  • Drink a cup of tea daily until the end of the flowering period as an internal cleansing cure
  • enjoy several times a day in case of pale face, cardiac arrhythmias and stomach problems

A tea made from wild garlic blossoms and buds also has a healing effect when used externally. Rashes, ringworm and other skin diseases are noticeably relieved or heal completely. Bathe the affected skin areas with cooled tea or treat them around poultices several times a day. It is important to note that the healing power is almost completely lost if you dry the plant parts.


Use as a tincture beyond spring

To use the power of wild garlic flowers beyond spring, make a tincture of them. To do this, fill the blossoms and buds in a screw-top jar and pour double grain over it. After 2 to 3 weeks, the liquid is strained and placed in a dark bottle. Instead of tea, you can now take wild garlic as a tincture in a dosage of 15 to 30 drops before each meal.


Tips on location and harvest

After a mild winter and in sheltered locations, the wild garlic season sometimes starts as early as February. Keep an eye out for the coveted stocks in the forest at these locations.

  • partially shaded locations in deciduous and alluvial forests
  • in moist, humus-rich soil, preferably near water
  • rarely in sandy, lime-poor soils

Although wild garlic is not under nature protection, it has become very rare in some federal states. So that the stocks do not disappear from nature, please only harvest a part at a time. This allows the plant to regenerate. This precaution applies in particular to wild garlic buds and the resulting inflorescences. The formation of seed heads is one of the central propagation strategies of the valuable herbal plant, so at least part of the wild garlic flowers should stay at the respective location.

Collectors - please pay attention!

The inimitable scent serves collectors not only as a guide to wild garlic stocks in the forest, but also as an important distinguishing feature. The harvest of wild garlic is not without its dangers, because there are other herbs at the site that look confusingly similar to wild garlic and can be life-threateningly poisonous. At least until the buds have unfolded into the bright white umbels of flowers, the following poisonous forest plants can hardly be distinguished from wild garlic.

  • lily of the valley
  • autumn crocus
  • bar of aaron

Even experienced collectors can only identify the differences in the sheets on closer inspection. This can have fatal consequences, especially with autumn crocuses and Aaron's staff. If the green leaves get caught between wild garlic and are eaten, there is a risk of life-threatening poisoning. To be on the safe side, rub the green leaves between your fingers and sniff them.

Only wild garlic leaves exude the garlic-like scent. Of course, this smell test only works if you clean your fingers between smell samples. Otherwise, the scent will still stick to your finger when you hold a leaf of lily of the valley, autumn crocus or Aaron's staff in your hands, so that a mistake is inevitable.

fox tapeworm

Fox tapeworm does not stop at wild garlic blossoms

There is a good reason why all recipes for wild garlic as a kitchen and medicinal herb begin with a note on thorough cleaning. Plant parts collected in the forest in particular can be infected with the eggs of the fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis). This not only applies to the leaves, but also to wild garlic buds and blossoms. If the eggs get into the human organism, they can trigger a life-threatening liver disease, which often only occurs after an incubation period of 15 years.

Therefore, avoid collection points in the forest, such as tree stumps or hilltops. Here the red fox likes to mark its territory with its droppings. You avoid an infection by not only thoroughly rinsing wild garlic blossoms, buds and leaves, but also briefly immersing them in 70 degree warm water. Above this temperature, the pathogens are reliably killed.

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