My aim is to be more organised for next winter and make sure that we have enough preserved food for the ‘hunger gap’ that occurs between us eating most of my crops (usually by the middle of February), and May when new crops start to arrive. We always have foraged fruit left in the freezer, some pumpkins, some bottled fruit and some chutney, jams and sauces, and maybe an odd leek and some spinach, but there is often very little else. This year I want to dehydrate more food, and pickle and ferment more items in order to save money on our food budget. Wild garlic is a free food and so I thought it seemed an ideal candidate.
We always take advantage of wild garlic that grows profusely near where we live and I make the usual scones, pesto, hummus etc, but this year I am aware that we are low on salad ingredients and the price of them has risen dramatically and so they are outside of our budget. We are lucky as we have pickled red cabbage from when the winter vegetables were down to 19p at Christmas. I also use defrosted sweet corn, peas, grated carrot and cubed apple in my salads with our spinach but I am looking for additional things that I can preserve to add.
My friend told me about a restaurant that she had visited last year and she had eaten pickled wild garlic buds in her salad and so I thought that I would make some for our salad next winter. Later on at the end of April a lot of the wild garlic flowers will have lost their petals and so I will be pickling the little round balls that are left as they make an excellent alternative to capers. I will use the same pickling juice to preserve them in.
3 large handful of wild garlic buds
120g of sugar
12og of cider vinegar
120g of water
A couple of pinches of peppercorns
A pinch of mustard seeds (optional)
A couple of pinches of salt.
Clean recycled 1lb jam jar
- Make the pickling juice by putting the sugar in a pan with the vinegar and the water.
- Bring to the boil and stir to dissolve the sugar
- Add the salt and the peppercorn and optional mustard seeds and turn off and leave to cool.
- Place the washed wild garlic bulbs into the jam jar.
- Pour the cooled pickling juice over the top.
- Seal and leave to pickle in the fridge or a cool, dark place for at least a week before opening.
- These will keep for about 9 months but must be eaten within 2 weeks of opening and stored in the fridge.
I found that the buds floated above the line of the pickling juice and so I placed a plastic top from a carton of milk on the top of the buds before screwing on the lid. This stopped them rising out of the liquid.