This recipe makes use of the wild garlic growing in the woodlands here is South Wales but is pretty extensive across the UK. You can use your nose to identify the garlic plants which have been delayed by the cold spring weather in 2021 but are nicely on their way now. Keep in mind though that these leaves won't be around for much longer so if you've been meaning to go have a harvest you're probably gonna want to go soon!
We reckon that they can be used in home fermentation in 3 main ways: leaves, flower buds and then the bulbs. The bulbs will need to be restored and replenished after the flowers have died off, and so will probably be ready in late spring early summer. The Crafty Pickle is planning on experimenting with all three plant parts but remember we have a baby arriving in June so don't hold your breathe!
There are also many other ways you can add wild garlic to your cooking - why not try making pesto, houmous or salsa?!
Recipe - to fill a 1kg jar/vessel
White cabbage x 780g (save an outer cabbage leaf as you'll need this for packaging!)
Wild garlic leaves x 120g (we picked one large handful on our walk)
Salt x 18g*
Black pepper x 4g
*We use 2% salt, so weigh the rest of the ingredients and calculate 2%
Large mixing bowl
Wide-mouth glass jar (to fit roughly 1kg or 1L)
As usual for any ferments your PICKLE MANTRA is always SHRED, SALT, POUND, PACK
1. Clean your jar by either filling and immersing in very hot (just boiled) water or by using sterilising tablets (baby utensil sterilising tablets are widely available). We used a Kilner jar but any glass jar with a lid will work just fine.
2. SHRED: Finely slice half of the cabbage and then use the slicer on your box grater to slice the rest. Cut up any large pieces of reluctant cabbage to make sure it is all small enough to participate in the fermentation process. Add the whole lot to the large bowl.
3. You can also finely shred the wild garlic or use a stick blender to really get the juices flowing. We shredded half and blended half just to try! Add this to the cabbage.
4. SALT & POUND: Add the salt and pepper to the cabbage and then massage and agitate with your hands for about 10 minutes. It's a great wrist and hand work out for free!
5. Keep pounding the veg until you can take a handful and when you squeeze it liquid pours out. This is how you know it's ready to pack!
6. PACK: Place one handful of veggies into your clean jar at a time and push down so that they’re in there tight – this makes sure there’s no air bubbles as they need an oxygen free (anaerobic) environment to thrive. When you’re about 2 inches from the top stop. Pour any excess liquid in to cover the veg, this should leave around an inch at the top of the jar. Tear off a portion of the outer cabbage leaves you left to one side and push down on top of your ferment to act as an inner seal.
7. It's not entirely necessary but some folks like to weigh their ferment down with a clean stone, shot glass or even a small plastic bag filled with water.
8. Cap your jar and leave on your counter top out of direct sunlight. After a couple of days you should notice the veg expanding (hence leaving some space at the top) and even bubbling!
9. Some folks like to leave their veg for just a few days, some for slightly longer . Either is fine, as long as when you taste it and like it you pop it in the fridge to slow fermentation right down. So make sure you're tasting regularly!
You'll definitely notice colour changes with this ferment as the bright green of the wild garlic changes to a more olive green as fermentation progresses - don't worry though, this is normal!
To make sure you care for your ferment just as you would for a wee puppy check out our video on Kraut & Kimchi TLC!