Into the wild: picking wild garlic

Darja | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Spending more than just a few days in Slovenia, you might have time to do also some more unconventional activities, apart from the usual sightseeing tours and must-see attractions. One such unusual thing you can do is to explore some of the many Slovenian forests and pick some food to prepare lunch in the meantime. No, there is no mushroom season at the moment, although Slovenians are well-known mushroom pickers. I am talking about čemaž or the wild garlic.

It is growing in most of Slovenian forests and the best time to pick it is…now! The season is going on from April to June, whereas you get the best taste of it when it is still young. When it is already flowering, the leaves get this bitter taste, you might not like. Apart from being delicious and interesting in taste, you might be convinced into picking wild garlic, when you find out about all the health benefits it has. It is detoxicating and a natural antibiotic that is beneficial to cardiovascular system. One would be tempted to put it on the list with other super-foods, popular at the moment, if we didn’t know that there is no one food which could make all the health problems go away, rather healthy lifestyle in general. Although you must admit that also the walk in the forest and picking the wild garlic has beneficial effect on the body, since it is a way to relax and release stress.

When picking wild garlic, one has to be careful not to mistake it for other poisonous plants. Wild garlic does have a distinctive aroma and the smell of garlic is especially strong if you crush the leaves between the fingers. I believe it isn’t needed to be said that if not sure, you shouldn’t consume the plant.

You can pick it practically in any forest, especially in the north-western parts of Slovenia. One of the many places where to pick it is along Mura river, near the mills and Island of Love. In that way this activity can be extended to a daily trip discovering beautiful nature at the Mura. Or one can explore the forest in Pohorje and pick the wild garlic at the same time.

In the kitchen wild garlic can be used as a substitute for garlic. In that way you can make a wild garlic spread or put it into a soup. The ones who really like the intense smell of garlic will be enthusiastic about the pesto. It matches perfectly the scrambled eggs and one can prepare a delicious risotto with it. Who would have thought that during your vacations you would be going out and picking your lunch in a forest, just like that?

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