Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Wild garlic is in season at this time of the year (end of march – June) and it is not only nutritious it is delicious too! Native to the UK, it is easy to identify and is extremely versatile. It has a characteristic garlicky smell and thrives in wet, shady woodland or along the sides of rivers and streams. The flowers are delicious in salads, while the leaves are fantastic in soups, garlic butter, cream cheese dips, and garlic pesto. The newest leaves from the plant’s centre, offer the finest flavour. Wash and dry the leaves before storing them in the fridge in a sealed bag to prevent the odour from spreading.
Wild garlic is a member of the allium family (alongside onions and leeks) and is well known for it’s health-promoting benefits which include: supporting the immune system, elimination of toxins, aiding the digestive system (it is a prebiotic food) along with the circulatory system. It contains important phytochemicals called anthoxanthins (or flavonols). One of the most common anthoxanthins is quercetin, which is found in good amounts in garlic, onions and shallots. Research shows that quercetin may lower the risk of heart disease and block the release of histamine, helping to ease the symptoms of allergies like hay fever. Plus, it’s thought to inhibit the enzymes that generate substances such as prostaglandins, which cause inflammation (important when it comes to aiding inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis).
Did You Know?
Garlic also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and consuming it regularly has been linked to lowering homocysteine levels in the blood – a factor in heart disease and diabetes (so may help those with PCOS too). Garlic contains an antioxidant called allicin that has been found to act as a natural antibiotic and may help to reduce blood pressure as well as sulphurous compounds that are antifungal and antibacterial.
Garlic is a great fertility food and provides a good amount of selenium, vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Having enough vitamin B6 in your body aids in the production of hormones that strengthen the uterine lining and raise progesterone levels. Selenium is an antioxidant that is important to fertility because it prevents oxidation and DNA damage in the egg and sperm and is important for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland.
Wild Garlic Soup
1 large onion (chopped)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 litre vegetable stock
250g wild garlic leaves (chopped)
100 ml double cream
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
How to make:
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add the onions and potatoes and stir them all together. Add the seasoning. Turn down the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then add the wild garlic and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Blend using a handheld blender, then return to the pan, stir in the cream, taste and season. Why not serve with some sourdough and a salad?
What to know more?
For great information and advice on how to forage responsibly for wild garlic please do check out on the Countryfile website.
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