The sun is shining. The wind is fresh. And there’s that inevitable feeling in ones bones that Spring may well have finally sprung!
Excitement seems to be going viral. Down here in deepest Devon folks spirits lift dramatically.
You see it in everyone. Faces are beginning to smile again. Say hello as you pass them by.
Seasonal affective disorder is retreating into the shadows. Winter finally gives way to the warmer months.
Folk are hopeful.
“I love this time of year”, I hear a young women say to her friend, as I pass them by.
Later in the day I am visiting an off-grid woodland project.
If things go to plan, I’ll be telling you a little bit more about them in a future article.
Leaving the woods, I pass by yards and yards of wild garlic (or should that be metres? Am I showing my age?).
The smell wafting in through the windows. I pull my rented car into a space in the hedge, and hop out.
Time to go a-gathering…
It doesn’t take long for me to fill two medium sized zip-lock bags.
I always carry these kinds of bags, as they allow me to gather just enough for myself and my partner. A good gauge for not overharvesting.
Carrier bags are such a pain. One bit of wind and they take on a life of their own.
So zip-locks it is, unless you’re a hand woven basket gatherer.
Those look great in photos on Instagram. Bloody useless in reality!
So I head home with my wild garlic pickings.
I’ve made all the usual gubbins in the past. The wild garlic pesto. The wild garlic omelette. The fermented wild garlic relish. Pickled wild garlic bulbs. Wild garlic pakoras (these rock!). Homemade goat’s cheese with wild garlic.
Tarts, focaccia, quiche… You name it.
So pondering in the way only Robin can ponder. I set about wondering what the waves of smelly wild garlic were going to dislodge in my brain.
Suddenly it happens!
My creative imagination explodes in a vast colourful display and I am showered in a wild kimchi.
Taste buds beg to be satiated.
I see folk on social media posting the usual wild garlic recipes. So I chime in with my own photo of the kimchi I have just made.
The actual recipe still in infancy as scribblings in my notebook.
But I have the photo!
Finally I spend time to jot down the process.
Shortly afterwards my daughter and the grand-urchins turn up.
I am greeted with “Dad, are you wearing lipstick?”
“Eh” I say slightly surprised. “Why?”
“You’ve got orange something all over your lips” my daughter says laughing.
And we all head off to the kitchen following the pong of a delicious wild garlic kimchi.
Makes: 1.5 litres
Robin is a forager and self-taught ethnobotanist. He specialises in wild edible plants and has been running foraging courses throughout the UK since 2008. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.