Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) grows in woodland, in near or among bluebells, and is identifiable by its garlic-like smell and long lush leaves, which are similar in appearance to those of Lily of the Valley. It grows from late winter and throughout spring. Towards the end of the season it bursts into bloom with white flowers. Foraging for wild garlic in woodland is fairly straight forward, found in semi-shaded, moist conditions. If you're unsure of what you've found is the real thing then its smell is the ultimate clarification. Although found commonly around woodland and river banks, wild garlic is easy to cultivate in most soils.
IN THE KITCHEN
Unlike domestic garlic, wild garlic is championed for its leaves rather than its bulb. The bulbs, along with the flowers, are edible, but are much smaller in quantity. Wild garlic has a very similar taste to domestic garlic, yet slightly milder. The leaves are delicious raw or cooked and work well in salads and soups.
A NOTE ON FORAGING
Please forage responsibly; do not pick from nature reserves, pick senstively in the wider countryside so as not to trample other species and do not uproot unless you have the landowner's permission.