The Bluebells are out and with them are the Ransoms (wild garlic - Allium ursinum) one of the best foraging treats in spring (in my opinion anyway) it grows in shady areas and broadleaf woodlands. You can often smell a hint of garlic in the air before you see them.
I have just gathered some to make pesto, in photo you can see the flower’s just starting to come out. Depending on your taste the strongest garlicky parts are the flowers with milder flavours in the younger leaves.
So identifying them is all about there smell, however, growing among them can be some poisonous plants whose leaves you may pick by mistake (such as Lords and Ladies, Meadow Saffron and even bluebell, there leaves are not the same shape so sort through your forage just incase). If you are gathering nearer built up areas do take extra care you are not picking any Lily of the Valley as their leaves are very similar and very poisonous. But just remember before eating just be sure that the leaves when bruised smell distinctly of garlic. If in any doubt just don’t eat them. I will put together a poisonous plants post this week.
Leaves pointed, elliptical and soft damp texture, flowers white, star like, 5 petals, ball like spray when mature, all part even roots smell of garlic.
Just like garlic they have some beneficial properties in aiding digestion, antioxidant properties, so helping boost immune system, and was even used for wounds and as an antiseptic.
But do try the pesto:
Throw into a blender, 50g washed leaves, 30g of pine nuts (or any fatty but), 30g Parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese) and 80ml Olive Oil, salt and pepper to taste.