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Foraging for Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic is prolific in the woods around Dirleton in the Spring with the intense green blade shaped leaves appearing well before the white flowers. Avoid similar shaped lily of the valley leaves, which are not edible, but the pungent smell easily identifies wild garlic. Like many edible plants, the younger tender leaves are best.

Wild Garlic butter for chicken.
Collect a generous handful of wild garlic, weigh and add half this weight of slightly softened butter and the finely grated zest of a lemon. Pulse these together in a blender adding salt and pepper. (This can be done by hand, chopping up the garlic leaves finely first and mashing the ingredients together with a fork or in a pestle and mortar.) Gently ease the skin of the chicken away from the body trying not to break it around the breast and gradually insert the garlic butter, rubbing it into the bird and pushing it gently as far as you can reach. Roast the chicken in your usual way.

Wild Garlic Pesto
Pick a good size bunch of wild garlic leaves. Wash, pick over and weigh them.
For every 100g of leaves you will need:
50g finely grated Parmesan
50g Pine nuts
150ml extra virgin Olive Oil
Salt, pepper and a squeeze of Lemon Juice
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Plunge the leaves into the water, drain almost immediately in a colander under cold running water and pat dry. Put the leaves, olive oil and nuts in a blender and puree. Mix together with the parmesan and seasonings and transfer to a sterilised jar, cover with a film of olive oil and keep refrigerated if not using immediately for a pasta sauce, baked potatoes etc. It can be frozen in batches to use later.