Can You Eat Garlic Leaves? And what are the best uses of garlic leaves?
These are only a few of the questions you’ll find an answer to in this short guide. Additionally, I’ll share a few tips to cook garlic leaves to perfection with you.
Can You Eat Garlic Leaves?
Yes, you can eat wild garlic leaves raw and use them in cooking. All parts of the allium ursinum plant are edible, including the bulbs, stem, leaves, and star-shaped white flowers pollinated by bees. But, be aware that the plant can be misidentified as poisonous plants, such as the lily of the valley.
Is it Safe to Eat Garlic Leaves Raw?
Yes, raw garlic leaves are edible but have a bitter and fiery taste. The taste becomes subtle when they’re cooked, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy raw garlic leaves. Freshly harvested garlic leaves can be used straight from the garden.
How to Harvest and Store Garlic Leaves?
Not only are garlic leaves and spiral stems edible, but you’ll also improve your garlic harvest by removing them!
You’ll notice that your garlic is sending up a stalk around June. The stalk is thicker than garlic leaves and is called the garlic scape. The scape will form a flower and then seed if left on the plant.
By cutting off the leaves and scape, you are allowing the plant to send all of its energy into increasing the bulb size rather than spending energy on flowers and seeds. Since the garlic bulb is what we eat, we recommend cutting the leaves. The leaves are delicious and ready a month before the garlic bulb. Win, win!
Wait until the center stalk completely forms and grows above the garlic plant to cut your leaves. At that point, cut the stalk and leaves off.
Not all of your garlic plant leaves will come at once, so remember to revisit the plant weekly until all the leaves have been removed.
Storing Garlic Leaves
Keep your garlic leaves in a dark, cool place where they will get some air circulation. Hanging garlic leaves in a sieve cloth is a good way to store them. However, don’t hang leaves where they will be exposed to light. You can also store garlic leaves in a mesh bag.
How to Cook Garlic Leaves?
If you’ve ever wondered, ‘can I use garlic leaves for cooking?’ you’ve come to the right place. Indeed, there are many ways to use garlic leaves for cooking.
The entire green garlic is edible—except for the roots. Garlic can be eaten raw in salads or sliced for sandwiches. Or it can be sautéed, stir-fried, or simmered in a soup.
Tips for Cooking Wild Garlic Leaves
Here are a few tips and recipe ideas for garlic leaves:
- Air dry garlic leaves after harvesting, wrap in a cloth and then freeze in the off-season.
- For a summertime side dish, add lightly browned garlic leaves to fragrant jasmine rice, or use it in a creamy sauce for roasted baby potatoes. The bright flavor of garlic leaves is also incredible on plump, buttery grilled oysters.
- Use fresh garlic leaves in any dumplings with other mixed ingredients. The most popular Gyoza of Japan is this, where garlic leaves are similar to Nira Leaves.
- Make mixed stir fry potatoes with green garlic leaves.
- Use fresh garlic leaves in different dishes such as soups, pizza toppings, green garlic sauces, and garlic leave pesto.
- The garlic leaf is a very popular cooking ingredient in Northern Iran. In northern Iran’s cooking style, garlic leaves are fried and used in various omelets, stews, and many things. It is very tasteful and refreshing.
What Do Garlic Greens Taste Like?
Garlic greens or leaves have a mild, garlicky flavor. But it’s not as potent or heavy as garlic cloves. You can sauté garlic leaves or scapes to taste mild and sweet, with a light garlicky flavor.
Uses of Garlic Leaves
Wild garlic leaves are good for you and have many benefits.
Garlic Leaves Medicinal Uses
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), garlic leaves can lower both total cholesterol and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. However, the organization gives this use a “B” rating because there isn’t strong scientific evidence.
The NIH notes that this use is controversial. More studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of garlic leaves as a treatment for high cholesterol and to determine whether leaves have the same benefits as the plant’s fleshy bulb.
Garlic leaves can help to defend against some serious forms of cardiovascular disease. According to the UMMC, allicin in garlic can help prevent hypertension, blood clots, and heart attack. Additionally, garlic leaf’s antioxidant properties can prevent free radical damage to cholesterol, a risk factor for several serious illnesses.
Garlic Leaves Benefits For Hair
Some of garlic leaf’s nutritional benefits may improve hair growth. The natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties found in garlic leaves may also contribute to the benefits for hair, as these properties can help fight germs and kill bacteria. If you want to keep your scalp healthy, make garlic leaves pasta to apply to your hair. Rubbing garlic leaf paste on the scalp promotes hair growth.
Where To Buy Wild Garlic Leaves
Garlic bulbs can be found online, but garlic leaves aren’t typically found online or at the grocery stores. Take a beautiful walk in the woods and look for the flowers or the smell of garlic in the air. Additionally, you can look for garlic leaves at the Farmers’ Markets in early springtime, around April.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can wild garlic leaves be poisonous?
No, wild garlic leaves aren’t poisonous. But it can be growing alongside leaves of wild plants that are very poisonous. So, make sure you know what garlic leaves look like before eating random plant leaves in the forest.
Is wild garlic the same as garlic?
Wild garlic has a bulb, stem, leaves, and star-shaped flowers. As the name implies, wild garlic has a distinctive garlic flavor, but it’s not as heavy or intense as regular garlic.
Does wild garlic make your breath smell?
Although wild garlic has a strong flavor when consumed raw, its flavor potency reduces once it’s been cooked. It doesn’t smell too bad on your breath.