Wild garlic is a name that actually refers to many edible plants. This particular Wild Garlic (allium vineale), also called Crow Garlic, is a very common species introduced from Europe and Africa. Onions, leeks, and shallots are also in the genus allium. Wild Garlic grows in many soil types, and is most active in spring and fall. See our article about wild garlic for more information.
Identifying Wild Garlic
The primary way to identify Wild Garlic is by smell. All allium species, including Wild Garlic, should smell like garlic, onion, shallots or leeks. This is especially true for the bulb. Don’t harvest the plant if you don’t smell this. There are toxic look a likes out there that don’t smell like garlic or onion. Wild Garlic has a hollow leafy structure with a single tube, much like chives. Wild garlic is easy to spot in early spring and late fall, as it is dark green in color before and after other plants produce their green foliage.
Cooking with Wild Garlic
Although Wild Garlic (allium vineale) is not the exact same species as the cultivated garlic (allium sativum) that you can find at any super market, it can be used in all the same ways. The bulb is slightly smaller and the flavor is a bit milder and less pungent. The flower head and bulbils that grow in its place can also be used if harvested in summer when it’s present. Also the green stems can be used like chives.
Health Benefits of Wild Garlic
Just like domestic Garlic, Wild Garlic is loaded with vitamins and minerals and has many health benefits. These include lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and aiding in the proper functioning of the digestive system. Wild Garlic also likely has antiseptic properties like it’s domestic cousin, and may help regulate blood sugar.
All allium species are toxic in certain quantities to certain consumers. Humans have the ability to eat large quantities without being effected. However, grazing animals have been poisoned from eating large quantities. And take care around Felix and Fido, as garlic and other allium species are toxic to cats and dogs, and can be poisoned from small quantities. Also beware of the poisonous Wild Garlic look-alikes, such as Star Of Bethlehem and the death cama.
3 lbs fresh broccoli (stems cut off)
1/2 cup olive oil
8 wild garlic bulbs(each bulb is only about as big as one clove of domesticated garlic)
1. Rinse broccoli thoroughly. Roughly chop to separate florets.
2. Add to medium pot with 1/3-1/2 cup of water.
3. Heat over high heat to bring water to boil.
4. Lower to low heat, cover with lid and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
5. Peel garlic, finely chop and place in a bowl.
6. Juice lemons over strainer into measuring cup.
7. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to bowl with garlic. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
8. Remove cooked broccoli and add to large bowl.
9. Pour garlic sauce over broccoli and gently toss to coat.