Harvesting wild garlic: is it edible despite its flowers?
- Blossoming wild garlic
- Materials and tools
- Harvest wild garlic in bloom
Wild garlic, with its characteristic aroma, is one of the most flavored herbs that grow in the local forests and gardens. The typical harvest time of Allium ursinum ranges from March to April depending on the region and it is usually recommended to harvest it before the flowering period. Whether wild garlic is edible or even poisonous despite its flowers, can be found here.
In the spring, many people set out into nature to harvest wild garlic. Those who are unfamiliar with the recommended harvest times will often find only flowering specimens, which poses a problem for many people: is wild garlic edible in spite of blooms "> Flowering wild garlic
Edible or poisonous?
Wondering if wild garlic is edible despite blooms? Do not worry, even wild-flowering wild garlic is easy to consume and is in no way poisonous. This can be recognized by the ingredients of the plant, which have no negative effects on the human body.
Allicin is an amino acid responsible for the characteristic smell of garlic in wild garlic and other leeks. In the stomach, the substance has an antibacterial effect, which has an advantageous effect on the intestinal flora and relieves gastrointestinal disturbances. But it is necessary that regular amounts of the herb are taken.
Together with Allicin Alliin forms the basic basis for the garlic odor of garlic and wild garlic. This substance is also a sulfur-based amino acid and acts as allicin in other regions of the body. It has an antiparasitic effect with regular intake.
Flavonoids are major dyes that are secondary phytochemicals and act as an antioxidant in combination with the amino acids present in wild garlic. That is, the substances act as radical scavengers and protect against oxidative stress. This prevents a number of diseases.
If you harvest wild garlic in bloom, the number of lectins in the leaves is significantly lower. These proteins can positively affect many processes in the body, including cell division. They also act as antibiotics. The existing lectins in wild garlic are not harmful.
Because of these ingredients, the wild garlic is still edible even in full bloom and you do not have to worry about poisoning in any way. Since it is edible despite flowers, but does not mean that the leaves are as aromatic as before the flowering period. The reason for this is the loss of many flavors, as the plant has to spend more energy on flower formation, which makes the leaves less tasteful.
In addition, the leaves are fibrous, which significantly reduces the enjoyment. The flowers, on the other hand, are edible and can also be harvested and processed. For example, you can simply put it in a salad or use it for seasoning. The taste is similar to that of the leaves.
Tip: Only allergy sufferers on leeks should refrain from eating and even harvesting the plant, as the wild garlic has a fairly high concentration of ingredients.
The classic harvest season for wild garlic is between March and April and can vary greatly. It depends on the region in which you live. In the south, for example, you will find wild garlic much earlier than in Berlin or the Erzgebirge. In mild vineyards, you should look for the tasty leaves at the beginning of March.
If you want to harvest the wild garlic in bloom, it is advisable to wait a little longer, because only from mid-April to May, the pretty flowers show up with their strongly vocal garlic smell . The buds usually present from the third week of March, if you want to harvest them. So you know exactly when you can harvest which part of the plant. The best of the harvest during the flowering season: a lot of the collectors do not really care about them. So you have compared to the season quiet, if you are traveling.
Tip: Of course it is easy to determine the harvest time for the leaves, flowers and buds when you grow the wild vegetables yourself. In this way you always have the forest garlic in view and know exactly when the harvest is possible without having to look out for the plant regularly in the forest.
Materials and tools
In order to make the harvest as easy as possible, it is necessary to have the right utensils. This will optimize your harvest and you will not have to spend too much time bending over, which protects your back. The following list gives you an overview of the necessary materials and tools that you should use for the wild garlic harvest.
- lockable cloth bag
- alternatively wicker basket
- Scissors or knife
- optional: gloves
Make sure that the knife or scissors used are clean before cutting off the flowers or leaves on the plant. If you have previously used the tool for sick plants, you must even disinfect it, so that the wild garlic does not get infected with pathogens or fungi.
Gloves are not a must, but can help if you accidentally harvest any of the poisonous growths such as lilies of the valley or fall-time lots. If you use a wicker basket instead of a cloth bag, a lid in any form is recommended. Although the leaves are not so light that they immediately blow away, shaking the basket can lead to loss.
Harvest wild garlic in bloom
Once you have picked a day to harvest, you should first look for a larger crop in the forest. It is advisable to harvest exclusively from larger stocks, as in some areas of Germany, such as the East, only small amounts of the plant are wild. Of course this only applies to you if you do not grow wild garlic yourself. If you are looking for the big leaves and star-shaped flowers, consider the following points.
- visit shady places
- Deciduous forests preferred, especially wet riparian forests
- fresh soil
- calcareous sites
- Dips are also commonly populated by wild garlic plants
The largest occurrences of the popular wild vegetables occur in the south of Germany in the proximity of wide-branched and large rivers, since these offer sufficient humidity. Needle forests should be completely disregarded, as the soil is too nutrient-poor for the forest garlic. Once you 've encountered a wild garlic deposit, you can start harvesting.
1. First, check the shape of the flowers so they are not poisonous lilies of the valley. While wild garlic forms clearly recognizable star flowers, Convallaria majalis, the lily-of-the-valley, has the down-hanging calyx. These remind of bells, which gave the name of the plant. The big advantage of the harvest of blooming wild garlic is the reduced likelihood of confusion, since both plants present their flowering and are thus easily distinguishable.
2. If you still are not sure, smell the flowers that do not look like a bell. If you hear a clear garlic aroma, it is definitely wild garlic, which makes this plant edible. As a precaution, you can rub the leaves to hear the smell of garlic. In this way, you are doubly secured and do not have to worry about a poisonous lily of the valley.
3. Now look at the individual specimens and see if they have already been cut leaves. Since many people like to gather wild garlic, this can be very good. If you notice that one copy has already been cut leaves, you should turn to another. The same applies to the flowers, if you also want to harvest them. Be careful not to let the plants stand naked.
4. Once you have decided on a specimen, cut with your tool a maximum of two leaves per plant. If this has already been harvested, you can reduce it to one sheet, depending on the amount of leaves. Cut them as clean as possible and never tear them off. If you harvest wild garlic in bloom and tear off the leaves, the plant may suffer and even become ill. In the same way you proceed with the flowers.
5. Since wild garlic is edible, larger quantities are often collected. However, as the aroma goes down very quickly after harvesting, you should never reap too much, but only for the immediate needs or dishes that you want to refine with the wild vegetables . Place the cut leaves and flowers in the basket or bag.
Important in the wild garlic harvest are the plants themselves. If you go into the accumulation of wild garlic plants, you should take care not to crush them, otherwise they can hardly recover from it. Stay prudent and preserve the wild garlic stocks .
Once you're done harvesting, you should process the leaves and flowers as quickly as possible so they do not lose too much of their flavor. Fortunately, there are many ways to process the harvest and enjoy the aroma properly.
Tip: If you are early enough, you can use the still closed flower buds as a substitute for tasty capers. Simply pluck them from the plant during harvesting and, after washing them for about a week, place them in a broth of quarter liter of herb vinegar, 40 grams of sugar, a little salt and whole peppercorns to enjoy in different ways,