An intense and spicy scent fills the nose of walkers in March and April in many deciduous forests. Some can’t get enough of it, others curse the penetrating garlic breeze. It’s wild garlic time. The lush green wild herbs currently cover much of the ground in parks and lowland forests like a giant carpet. And with them, the scent of garlic is in the air. Friends of the hot and aromatic tuber also love wild garlic. And help yourself in the spring at the side of the road.

The star explains why you can’t harvest wild garlic everywhere, how to distinguish the real herb from the poisonous lily of the valley and what else is important when picking.

Wild wild garlic feels most comfortable in shady and damp depressions in deciduous forests. There it also sprout lushly and often covers the forest floor extensively. In principle, wild garlic leaves and flowers may be collected for personal use in publicly accessible parks and forests and taken home. An exception are nature reserves. There it is strictly forbidden to cut off parts of plants or to tear out whole plants. Depending on the region, the wild garlic season starts as early as mid-March – and ends around the beginning of May when the herb is in bloom.

Important: Blooming wild garlic is not poisonous. But the otherwise juicy leaves become more fibrous with flowering and lose a lot of flavor.

The leaves of the wild garlic and those of the lily of the valley look confusingly similar at first glance. This is treacherous, because the inconspicuous lily of the valley is considered to be very poisonous. Neither the leaves, flowers, nor fruit should be eaten. But how can you tell whether you are holding real wild garlic or a poisonous leaf of the lily of the valley?

Three tips for identifying wild garlic with certainty

Stocking up in large quantities with wild, fresh wild garlic in parks and forests in spring is not only ruthless. It also harms the stock of the popular herb. In order to give the plants enough time to regenerate, a handful of tips should be heeded during harvest.

Freshly picked, wild garlic does not keep for very long. The leaves wither very quickly and should therefore be processed within a few days. To protect them from drying out, they can be wrapped in damp kitchen paper or a cloth shortly after picking – similar to asparagus. The leaves stay fresh for a day or two longer in the refrigerator. Anyone who hates garlic in the house should store the wild garlic in an airtight container, otherwise the distinctive smell will spread to other foods in the fridge. A book with tips and recipes is available here. Wild garlic leaves that are not processed immediately can be dried, placed in olive oil, but also frozen.

Tip: Freshly picked wild garlic should be washed thoroughly before eating raw at home, also because of the fox tapeworm.


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