Our resident chef Mark Hix on taking advantage of unseasonal wild garlic

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Thanks to this freakishly warm autumn, we’ve had an early flush of three-cornered, or hedgerow, garlic. I love preserving all the varieties of wild garlic, including ramsons, which appear in spring or earlier. I preserve the leaves in various ways, from a straight purée in rapeseed oil to a pesto or a fermented pickle (see recipe).

Wild garlic leaves are such a versatile ingredient and very abundant once you’ve found a spot. The skinny three-cornered garlic grows from about now until February, and then the broader-leaved ramsons kick in.

Don’t buy into any of the recent press about banning foraging. We have been doing it for centuries, and it’s a great way to experience tasty, free wild food. There are more pressing global issues that we should be focusing on.

Fermented hedgerow garlic
You can use ramsons or hedgerow garlic for this. It’s a great way to capitalise on the abundance of this wild herb when it’s in season. A variation of this is to add some grated root ginger to give it an Asian twist.

Ingredients
• 1kg hedgerow or wild garlic leaves, washed, dried in a salad spinner and coarsely shredded
• 20g sea salt flakes
Put the wild garlic in a non-reactive bowl, such as a Pyrex, and mix with the salt. Cover with clingfilm, then put a tight-fitting plate on top – or you can use cans or jars, up to you. Place in a cool, dry place for two weeks, giving it a stir a couple times. Transfer to sterilised preserving jars and store for at least 4-6 months or up to a year in the refrigerator before using it.