- Culinary uses — dried basil
- Nutrients — nutritional information — calories
- Cultivation — harvest
- General information
- Literature — sources
Dried wild garlic (Allium ursinum) can be added to salads and is also used as a seasoning (organic) for soups and sauces. Furthermore, wild garlic (also known as wild cowleek, Eurasian wild garlic, and bear’s garlic) soothes gastric and intestinal pain.
Wild garlic is used as a vegetable, spice, and medicinal plant. The entire plant is edible, but the wild garlic leaves are used most often. If the leaves are still young and smaller, they will taste very tender. If the wild garlic has already bloomed, the leaves are usually also somewhat fibrous and chewy.
What can you do with dried wild garlic? Dried wild garlic can be used as a spice to season a wide variety of recipes including raw food dishes, soups, salads, dips, and vegan cream cheese. What can I make with dried wild garlic? It can also be used in recipes to make wild garlic hummus, wild garlic gnocchi, wild garlic vegan butter, or, most everybody’s favorite, wild garlic pesto. In addition, you can make wild garlic salt.
Vegan recipe for Wild Garlic Butter:
In a large mixing cup, add 100 mL cold-pressed canola oil, 40 g dried wild garlic (organic), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon mustard or lemon juice, depending on your preference. Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender. Gradually add 150 g room-temperature organic margarine and blend until creamy. Transfer the wild garlic vegan butter into a screw-top jar and refrigerate several hours in order to allow time for the flavor to fully develop.
For a quicker version, you can take a package of organic margarine (250 g) and use a fork to mix together with 40 g dried wild garlic leaves and a teaspoon of salt. Then place the wild garlic vegan butter in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavor fully develop.
Recipe for Wild Garlic Soup:
Gently sauté one finely chopped onion and then deglaze with one liter of vegan broth. Add three large peeled and cubed potatoes and cook about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Add 40 g dried wild garlic (organic) to the soup and simmer for a few minutes. Then purée all of the ingredients with a cup of vegan sour cream or vegan smetana until creamy and season with salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and optionally with a tablespoon of yeast flakes. The soup makes four servings.
You can find vegan recipes with dried wild garlic at the bottom of the text or in the sidebar: “Recipes that have the most of this ingredient.”
|Not only vegans and vegetarians should read this:
A Vegan Diet Can Be Unhealthy. Nutrition Mistakes.
Purchasing — where to shop?
Dried and chopped wild garlic is usually sold on its own and not mixed with other herbs. You can find it in many well-stocked organic stores, delicatessens, and supermarket chains such as Coop, Migros, Denner, Volg, Spar, Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Edeka, and Hofer (Europe); Walmart, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, and Safeway (United States); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and Holland & Barret (Great Britain); Metro, Extra Foods, and Goodness Me (Canada); and Coles, Woolworths, and Harris Farm (Australia). And you can also buy dried wild garlic in organic supermarkets or online.
When buying wild garlic leaves, if possible, buy only certified organic products. The leaves have a high water content, and it is therefore difficult to dry them naturally. Even with gentle drying, typical temperatures range between 40 and 50 °C. In addition, a small percentage of organic dried wild garlic is freeze-dried. This means that much of the dried wild garlic sold does not qualify as raw (i.e., food prepared at a maximum of 40 °C).10
Drying wild garlic at home:
When wild garlic is dried using common drying procedures, it loses a great deal of flavor. It is usually dried in a dehydrator, the oven, or outside in the fresh air. The first option is the quickest, whereas drying it in the oven requires more time and the smell of wild garlic tends to be quite strong. If you dry wild garlic outside, you should make sure the leaves are in a shady area with a lot of fresh air so that mold doesn’t form. Many connoisseurs are not in favor of any of these methods because the resulting product is of lesser quality as compared to fresh wild garlic. Freeze-drying wild garlic preserves the flavor more effectively, but this method is normally only used in the food industry.
Finding wild — season:
Wild garlic is found mainly in moist riparian forests; beech, deciduous, and mixed forests; and also in hedgerows throughout Europe. It grows as a carpet-forming perennial with elliptical leaves up to 28 cm long and umbels of white, star-shaped flowers. In late spring and early summer, the flowers bloom above the green leaves.1 It is best to pick wild garlic in fields that are somewhat off the trail in order to avoid any contamination caused by dog walking.
When is wild garlic in season? You can pick wild garlic between March and May, and the edible bulbs can be dug up and used in the fall.2,3
It should be noted that if you are new to picking wild garlic, there is a risk of confusing it with lily of the valley leaves, which are poisonous.2 However, lily of the valley has bell-shaped flowers that point toward the ground, and the leaves (when young) are also not as tender. It can also be just as easily confused with the deadly leaves of the autumn crocus.3 Read more below under “Danger of confusion.”
When is wild garlic toxic? And can you pick wild garlic after it blooms or not? At no time during the year is any part of the plant poisonous. Nevertheless, the young, tender leaves in spring are preferred as they have a nice garlic aroma. After they flower, the leaves lose their characteristic flavor and are rather bitter and fibrous.
Like other spices, dried wild garlic leaves should be stored protected from light and in a well-sealed container. Care should be taken not to let in hot steam when cooking wild garlic. This prevents toxic mold from forming.
For practical purposes and to reflect common usage, we provide the nutrient information for spices and herbs here based on 1 g (instead of 100 g as with other ingredients).
Dried wild garlic leaves contain leek oil and several important nutrients such as flavonoids (prostaglandins A, B, and F), biocatalysts, fructosans, and a lot of vitamin C.3 Even fresh wild garlic that has a high water content contains about 1.5 mg/1 g of vitamin C,4 which is about 15 mg per 10 g.
At 0.23 cal/1 g, dried wild garlic is low in calories. Many nutrients in dried wild garlic are highly concentrated, which can be seen in the nutritional tables. For example, it contains a significant amount of vitamin K (26.25 µg/1 g).5 And this makes sense as green vegetables and herbs are generally foods that have a high vitamin K content. But since we use much smaller amounts of dried foods, we don’t end up consuming that much of these concentrated nutrients. We can compare this to Swiss chard, for example, which contains 8.3 µg of vitamin K per 1 g (= 830 µg/100 g).
Dried wild garlic also has about 0.07% allicin in the leaves.
Select CLICK FOR under the photo of the dried wild garlic to see the nutrient tables. These tables provide complete nutritional information, the percentage of the recommended allowance, and comparison values with other ingredients.
Health aspects — benefits:
Is wild garlic healthy? In terms of health, eating wild garlic has positive benefits for us that are similar to eating garlic. Given its antibacterial properties, wild garlic can be taken to alleviate stomach and intestinal problems such as bloating and flatulence. It has reported anti-inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant, and blood-purifying properties, it stimulates the circulatory system, and it is used to treat loss of appetite and boosts the body’s immune system. It can also be used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and arteriosclerosis as it is shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.6
Like garlic, it is considered a very healthy food. Nevertheless, we do not think the term superfood should be used as this goes a bit too far.
Dangers — intolerances — side effects:
Wild garlic can be contaminated with fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis), which is transmitted mainly by the red fox, but also by some cats and dogs. The eggs are found in the feces of the animals and the contamination takes place, for example, by dog walking. If you eat contaminated wild garlic, it can cause a dangerous, and sometimes even fatal, liver disease called alveolar echinococcosis. There is more information below about some poisonous plants that are easily confused with wild garlic.
Use as a medicinal plant:
Wild garlic is considered an herbal remedy, but it is not recognized as a medicinal plant.11 As such, it is mainly used as a food and spice and less frequently as a pharmaceutical product. When wild garlic is found in drugstores and pharmacies, it is available dried as a medicinal herb (Allii ursini herba), for example, in the form of wild garlic herb powder (Allii ursini herbae pulvis) or as a tincture (e.g., from Ceres ®) as well as a juice (Allii ursini herbae recentis succus).7
Traditional medicine — naturopathy:
Wild garlic is often used in natural medicine. It owes its medicinal benefits to the essential oils it contains, most of which include sulfur. These have positive effects on the respiratory tract, liver, gallbladder, intestine, and stomach.
Wild garlic is found throughout most of Europe and grows in the Alpine foothills even at altitudes up to 1900 m. Wild garlic grows in clay soil that animals walk on and spread, which also often explains its patchy occurrence. The dried medicinal herb usually comes from wild garlic grown in Eastern European countries.
Cultivation in gardens or as potted plants:
Wild garlic is very easy to grow in your garden under other plants in the shade. Its seeds are dispersed by ants, and it therefore reproduces efficiently and without any problems.8 As a cold germinator, the seeds need to go through a frost or cold period before they can germinate.
Danger of confusion:
If you are new to picking wild garlic, there is a risk of confusing it with the poisonous leaves of autumn crocuses (Colchicum autumnale). If not treated, a person who has ingested these will die (no exceptions). All parts of this plant contain the cytotoxin "c.", which is lethal at a dose of just 20–30 mg and can also withstand high temperatures. Signs appear after 6–12 hours and include a burning and itching throat, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with severe fluid loss. Depending on the amount ingested, the person will die within 2–6 days from circulatory failure or respiratory paralysis if not treated.9
It can also be just as easily confused with lily of the valley leaves (Convallaria majalis), but these are generally not fatal. Poisoning causes severe upper abdominal discomfort and in rare cases cardiotoxic problems. You can avoid confusing it with lily of the valley leaves if you know that lily of the valley has bell-shaped flowers that point toward the ground and that the leaves (when young) are not as tender.2,9
And finally, wild garlic is sometimes confused with the leaves of more immature wild arum (Arum maculatum) plants, which are usually spotted. These leaves contain calcium oxalate raphides, which irritate the oral mucosa (membrane lining the oral cavity) and cause burning, which means that people automatically stop eating it and do not consume it in large amounts. However, even eating two leaves can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling of the oral mucosa. When sap from the plant comes into contact with the skin, it causes redness and blistering. If you have contact with it, you should immediately drink plenty of water and rinse your skin well under running water.9
How can you tell the difference between wild garlic and lily of the valley, autumn crocus, or spotted arum? If you are in doubt, rub the leaves between your fingers and make sure that they smell like wild garlic.3
Animal protection — species protection — animal welfare:
Like all Allium varieties with large flowers, wild garlic is a favorite plant of bees, hoverflies, and bumblebees. Since wild garlic is in bloom in the spring months from April to June, it is considered a good source of nectar at this time. And it also supplies insects with honeydew and pollen. But while it is a very good source of nectar, it only offers medium levels of pollen. Chives, onions, and various ornamental garlic species can also be planted as an extra source of nectar for bees.8 In addition, wild garlic is considered a good nectar source for butterflies, especially in June.
Allium ursinum is a plant species in the genus Allium and closely related to chives, onion, and garlic.
Wild garlic is also called ramsons, cowleekes, cows’s leek, cowleek, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek, Eurasian wild garlic, and bear’s garlic.
|Bown D. Kräuter. Die grosse Enzyklopädie. Anbau und Verwendung. 2. Auflage (2015); Dorling Kindersly Verlag GmbH. München.
|Mabey R. Essbar: Wildpflanzen, Pilze, Muscheln für die Naturküche. München: Haupt Berne. 2013.
|Pahlow M. Das grosse Buch der Heilpflanzen: Gesund durch die Heilkräfte der Natur. München: Gräfe und Unzer Verlag. 2013.
|USDA. Wild garlic.
|USDA. Dried wild garlic.
|Fleischhauer SG, Guthmann J, Spiegelberger R. Essbare Wildpflanzen. 200 Arten bestimmen und verwenden. 3. Auflage. Augsburg; 2013. Verlagsgruppe Weltbild GmbH.
|Kremer BP. Mein Garten – Ein Bienenparadies. 2. Auflage. Bern; 2018. Haupt Verlag.
|Pharmazeutische-zeitung.de Schellerer S. Pflücken mit Tücken. Pharmazeutische Zeitung online. 2005;19.
|Heuschrecke.com Trocknungsverfahren für Kräuter und Gewürze. Nicht alles geht als Rohkost - differenzierte Betrachtung. 2014.
|Awl.ch Heilpflanzenlexikon. Bärlauch - Allium ursinum.