Use the wild garlic safely for consumption
Unless you buy the wild garlic cut or in a pot, you will probably harvest wild garlic from forest stands or grow it yourself in the garden. You should pay attention to two different potential hazards. The wild garlic itself is non-toxic, but laypeople can confuse it with the following plant species with similar location requirements:
- Spotted Aaron staff
- Autumn crocus
- lily of the valley
- Weisswurz species
- Wild garlic pesto: A pleasure all year round when frozen
- Still harvest wild garlic after flowering or not?
- Preserve wild garlic and preserve its aroma
If the leaves and flowers do not allow clear identification, rubbing the leaves between the fingers provides a sure indication of the non-toxic wild garlic, if an intense garlic smell emerges. Another source of danger is the pathogen of the fox tapeworm, especially when eating raw wild garlic. To remove this invisible risk factor, you should wash wild garlic thoroughly with hot water before freezing and then carefully pat dry with soft kitchen towels if necessary.
Only fresh wild garlic gives good results when it comes to storage
A basic rule applies to all herbs and almost all foods: if these have been left lying around for too long and are almost spoiled, then there is no point in preserving them for later. Since wild garlic only stays fresh in the refrigerator for a few days, you should decide immediately after a large wild garlic harvest which parts of it you want to use and in what form. Since wild garlic, unlike other herbs, loses much of its actual aroma relatively quickly when it is dried, it should be frozen shortly after cutting.
Freezing wild garlic
There are different procedures to choose from when freezing wild garlic. The whole leaves can be frozen in one piece if they are to be used for pickling salmon or similar purposes after thawing. For other purposes, such as seasoning soups and sauces, it may be more advisable to carefully chop the wild garlic before freezing it. Use an ice cube mold to make practical wild garlic cubes in pre-portioned form from two thirds of crushed wild garlic and one third of water. Even better results in terms of preserving the typical wild garlic aroma can be obtained by preparing wild garlic puree or wild garlic butter before freezing. The wild garlic puree, which is quickly made from whole leaves with the mixer, can also be portioned well with an ice cube mold.The wild garlic butter is made from three quarters of butter and a quarter of chopped wild garlic. It can be wrapped in foil rolls or frozen in small cans or ice cube molds and used for summer barbecues.
Contain the wild garlic odor in the freezer
The intense garlic-like smell of wild garlic does not only spread when the fresh wild garlic flowers and leaves are stored in the refrigerator on neighboring foods. Due to the long time in the freezer compartment, the wild garlic odor can be transferred to other foods, even when frozen. You can contain this not only with the airtight packaging in freezer bags, but also by enclosing the wild garlic inside the wild garlic ice cubes.
Alternatives to freezing wild garlic
While other herbs are mainly stored in dried form, the wild garlic loses a large part of its intense taste. You have to expect a certain loss of aroma even when frozen, but this is limited and this can even be perceived positively in the case of very late harvested, intensely tasting leaves. An alternative to drying and freezing can be the preparation of intermediate products from fresh wild garlic. For example, wild garlic butter can be eaten in the refrigerator for several weeks. The wild garlic pesto made from wild garlic can also be kept airtight for a few weeks. Intermediate products such as wild garlic oil and wild garlic salt do not require any special cooling.To prepare wild garlic oil, put a few whole leaves in high-quality olive oil and let them steep for about three to four weeks. For the wild garlic salt, chopped wild garlic leaves are dried in the oven over a low heat and mixed with commercially available salt. The also edible buds of the wild garlic flowers that have not yet opened can be collected in spring during the season and pickled in vinegar like capers.
Tips & Tricks
You can save yourself the work of chopping wild garlic if you freeze it in whole leaves and roll it through with a rolling pin before thawing. In this way, the hard-frozen wild garlic leaves break into small pieces without much effort.
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