Once upon a time… it happened that i called my friends down from London to help me out. Give me some company cause i felt pretty lonely – mostly cause of this stupid virus self -isolation. They felt the same so it wasnt a tough decision to make. So why – why not – i decided to use them – to use their car and drive down to my ‘secret wild garlic’ woods not too far from Brighton. The wild garlic ‘leaves – season’ is over now – but best time to go and collect the little pods – left after flowering. They looking pretty pretty – like tiny umbrellas with a ‘weird 3 pillowed’ heart shaped bud at the end of each stem. Wow – im not sure i helped you to imagine but look:
We went there to hunt down these babies. The whole forest was covered with them everywhere. Then i just gave a bag to my friends Kata and Lali and let them ‘free’ to go and ‘hunt’. Chatting and picking. In the woods.
What else wish to do in a beautiful warm sunny day with your friends visiting over for your weekend. So we kept talking and talking and picking. We picked faaaaar too many little pods…. hahaha. Especially Lali – like a machine. :) After an hour – was just time to get back – picking was the easier part of the job – now we had to separate the buds from the stems and save all the little bugs and spiders we accidentally rode with us.
It took 2 hours for 3 of us to pick down nicely these little capers. Of course we kept chatting and chatting and chatting. Lovely time with lovely people. I miss this. And we got an amazing result at the end:
So what is this thing good for???? Other than spending time together and making the whole flat smell like garlic? Making awesome CAPERS!!!!! Lovely little salty and vinegary ‘berries’. Amazing with all sorts of food – anywhere you can imagine garlic and/or pickles. Beautiful with fish, meat, veg.
Almost forgot to mention – u can eat them raw – they are much more powerful than the green leaves – they are exploding in your mouth like a garlic bomb! Also beautiful just pan fry with pretty much anything or braise in a sauce pretty much for everything. :)))))
If you would like to preserve them – then you can make wild garlic capers. I also do fermentation and (of course haha) keep some separately, place in a jar with 3% brine – cause i just love funky things and lacto ferments!
Here is how you make the salty capers: supereasy. Just pick your berries, mix it with a nice amount of salt – no exact recipe needed – i think i mixed mine in a big jar 1:5 (salt:capers) ratio. We want the garlic to release its natural water content. Leave this for 2-3 weeks – u will see lots of water on the bottom of your jar and the color vibrant green will change to brown slowly. Its ok, its natural. Shake if you feel – make sure the salt covers all.
After this salted period lets make a gorgeous pickling liquor. Use any nice vinegar you like (cider or wine) and sugar, some spices herbs you like. Ratio can be ‘anything’ from 1:1:1 (water:vinegar:sugar) – to a strong 2:1 (vinegar:sugar) – using chilli, bayleaf, thyme, black pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek etc etc. Whatever you fancy having with your powerful little garlic caviar. Wash the buds from the salt. Boil up all your pickling juice ingredients – then add your capers – leave on heat for a couple more seconds then pour the whole thing into your sterilized jar and close it tight. Job done. It will last you ‘forever’ as i always say – the vinegar and the salt did the job so no mold should appear. As soon as u will decide to open (i would not touch for 2 weeks at least – to get the flavours mature a bit together) just pop the jar in the fridge and keep nibbling from it. Seriously great garnish for any fish and good for any heavy fatty food.
Thank you nature. I showed my appreciation to my friends for their hard work on that day with a real deal dinner:
Go and hunt now! :)