Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:41 pm
The wild garlic season starts in spring. We tell you when the best time to harvest is and give you tips on what to look out for.
When the characteristic smell of wild garlic wafts through parks and forests in spring, it’s wild garlic season. It not only tastes delicious in salads or as wild garlic pesto, but also contains many healthy ingredients. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when harvesting wild garlic. Below you will learn when is the best time to harvest wild garlic and how to do it correctly.
Wild garlic season: the best time to harvest wild garlic
The wild garlic season begins in mid-March, depending on the region. Then the juicy, garlic-scented leaves sprout from the earth. The season ends when the wild garlic flowers, around the beginning of May. It still grows after that, but you should not harvest the wild herb then. Because when bear’s garlic has bloomed, it clearly loses its flavor. It is not true that wild garlic is poisonous once it has flowered: The leaves merely become more fibrous and lose flavor. The wild garlic season is then over.
Determine wild garlic and distinguish it from lily of the valley
Lily of the valley can easily be mistaken for wild garlic. But lily of the valley is poisonous, so you have to be careful when harvesting it. The following tips will help you identify wild garlic:
- You can recognize both plants by their broad, oval leaf shape. Unlike lily of the valley, the underside of wild garlic leaves is dull and not shiny. You can also recognize a prominent midrib.
- Furthermore, you can recognize wild garlic by its typical garlic smell. Take a leaf of the plant and grind it between your fingers. If it is wild garlic, you will be able to detect a strong garlic smell.
- If you are still not sure whether it is wild garlic or lily of the valley, look at the root: Carefully expose the root of the plant. If you see a bulb, it is wild garlic. Lily of the valley, on the other hand, develops horizontal roots.
Wild garlic season: harvesting wild garlic correctly
If you want to harvest wild garlic, take a cloth bag and a sharp knife. Carefully cut off the leaves by the stem. After harvesting, it is important to process the wild garlic promptly, as it does not keep long when fresh. However, you can also freeze wild garlic and preserve it.
In order not to harm nature, you should also consider a few things:
- Take only one or two leaves per plant so that it can regenerate.
- Always cut the leaves with a knife or scissors. Do not tear out leaves.
- If possible, collect only when there are large stands of wild garlic.
- Take into account that collecting wild garlic is forbidden in nature reserves.
- Do not trample plants recklessly.
- Take only as much wild garlic as you actually need and want to process.
- By the way: In April and May you can also harvest the buds and pickle them afterwards: Pickle wild garlic buds: recipe for wild garlic capers.