I love wild garlic. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways in the kitchen. I can't wait for late March / April to come around and then head off to my go-to wild garlic patch for the first major foraging adventure of the year. All parts of the wild garlic plant can be used. Check out these recipes: My wild garlic focaccia bread, where I have used the plant leaf. My wild garlic chilli sauce and wild garlic chilli oil. I have pickled the flower buds, and here I use the flower seeds to make wild garlic capers.
When the wild garlic season ends, the white, star-shaped flowers give way to seeds. This is usually around early summer. Once cured and pickled to make wild garlic capers, they are a delicious addition to any recipe. They are similar to capers with a mellow garlicky flavour. I use them in my wild greens salsa verde and add them to my pasta, salads, and toast.
If you venture out to pick some wild garlic, only take what you need and don't over-pick and be careful where you tread. Wild garlic is also an important food source for wildlife like bees and butterflies.
- Wild garlic seeds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coarse seas salt
- Table salt
See the recipe card for quantities.
First, prepare the seeds by washing them and removing them from the seed head.
Transfer half the heads to a non-metallic bowl and add coarse sea salt. Follow with the rest of the seed pods and again cover with the coarse sea salt. Set aside at room temperature.
Let the seeds cure in the salt for four days, giving them a mix daily.
After four days, wash off the salt from the seed and pat dry.
Add apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt to a pot and quickly boil. Once the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat and cool.
Add the wild garlic capers to a sterilised jam jar and pour over the cooled pickling liquor. Seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate.
Instead of apple cider vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar.
I always recommend having a digital scale to ensure you have the correct measurements.
The wild garlic capers will keep in the fridge for up to a year if kept in a properly sterilised jar. Use a clean, dry spoon to prevent contamination each time you use it.
To sterilise a jam jar, wash it in warm soapy water and place it in an oven at 100ºC for 30 minutes.
For the curing process, please don't use table salt. Table salt has anti-caking agents and iodine. Coarse sea salt ensures that no bacteria survive and does not leave any bitterness.
If you are patient, leaving the capers in their pickling liquor longer will only improve their flavour.
Here are more wild garlic recipe ideas.
Here are some recipes to enjoy with your wild garlic capers.
Wild Garlic Capers
- Digital scales
- 300 ml Jam jar with lid
- 100 heads Wild garlic seed pods
- 150 g Coarse sea salt
- 200 ml Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- Wash and pat dry the wild garlic seed pods.
- Pick the pods off the heads.
- Transfer half of the heads to a non-metallic bowl and add a layer of coarse sea salt. Follow with the rest of the seed pods and again cover with the coarse sea salt. Set aside at room temperature.
- For the next four days let the seed pods cure in the salt, giving them a mix each day.
- After four days, wash off the salt from the seed pods and pat dry.
- In a pot add apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a rapid boil. Once the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat and cool.
- In a sterilised jam jar, add the seed pods and pour over the cooled pickling liquor. Seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate.
- After three to four days the capers are ready for use.
In a professional kitchen, food hygiene and safety are top priorities, and from the beginning of my training, I practised good habits and routines. Of course, practising good food hygiene and safety at home is also essential. Here are some fundamental practices to adopt in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands regularly while preparing, handling and cooking food.
- Wipe down countertops and high-contact points regularly.
- If you cook meat and fish, do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat. Use separate chopping boards for meat and fish. Wash your chopping boards immediately after use.
- Thoroughly cook food to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods (more than 2 hours).
- Store food correctly.
For more details regarding food hygiene and safety in the home, visit the UK Government's Food Standards Agency webpage.