Still on a green theme, I’ve finally got around to a post about drying Wild Garlic.
I’ll be straight up and tell you this is a labour of love. Patience is needed and the result can be disappointing with only approx. 20g dried weight of the original weight of 100g collected fresh garlic leaves. It is however really rewarding to see the end result of a free harvest from nature. The fact that it is organic and available on the spice shelf at home in the autumn/winter when it’s season is only a distant memory, does make it all the more precious and worthwhile.
This is my first year drying wild garlic, although I’ve dried my own grown herbs in the past, so I was interested to know what the resulting difference in flavour would taste like i.e, dried versus fresh. I’ve found the dried garlic leaf a lot milder and more suited to dressings, oils, breads or as a garnish, although it would still be delicious (albeit subtle) in soups and stews. The final verdict is I will be returning to the woods again tomorrow for another mass forage, with a picnic basket, kids and puppy in tow (holiday boredom has set in already) and I can dry the leaves in the glorious sunshine at home. For information on it’s medicinal properties or on foraging wild garlic, have a look here or either here.
What you will need:
A large pot
Oven trays (if drying in the oven) or any large clean surface if drying in the sun
This is what I did..
Weigh the wild garlic leaves
For every 100g of weighed fresh garlic leaves weigh 1tsp of salt (I used sea-salt) separately e.g 400g leaves =4tsp salt
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the required weighed salt
Wash the garlic leaves very well under cold water.
Drain in a colander and add to the boiling pot
Blanch for two minutes to kill any unseen nasties
Drain in a colander and spread each leaf singularly on the trays, as above.
If you have a large quantity this can be as laborious as shelling peas, but worth it!
Dry in a very low oven at 50C for 4 hours or until completely dry
Grind in a pestle and mortar or whizz in a food processor
I preferred to keep some structure and not grind to a complete powder, but it’s up to you!
Pour carefully into clean jars, no need to sterilise and seal tightly
Here’s my Irish Soda Bread recipe from a few months back, just add 2 tsp of dried garlic leaf for a delicious option!