How to pickle wild garlic buds: fresh from a Pembrokeshire preserves maker

Wild garlic buds and leaves © Kerry Walker

Only choice organic, local ingredients go into Helen Lloyd’s preserves at Foxhill Farm in St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire. Also a passionate forager making the most of what each season brings, Helen tells us here how to pickle wild garlic buds, which lend a punch of garlicky goodness to simple meals year round. 

Helen says: “For those lucky enough to have wild garlic to hand who have made and frozen pesto to see them through the winter and eaten lots of garlic soup, I thought I would share a very simple pickling recipe which utilises the flower buds. If you part the leaves of your wild garlic at the moment, you will find lots of buds which will burst into flower anytime now.”

Ingredients

50g sugar
50ml cider vinegar
50ml water
Good pinch of salt

Wild garlic buds ready to be pickled © Kerry Walker

Optional extras

Citrus peel
Mace
Pink peppercorns
Slice of root ginger
Sprig of thyme
Cardamom pod

Seasoning for pickled wild garlic buds © Kerry Walker

Method

Pick the buds and pack them tightly into a glass jar that has been washed well in hot soapy water. When you add the pickling liquor, the buds will want to float, so take two or three leaves and twist them to form a circle and place in the top of the jar to hold the contents down. 

Packing wild garlic buds into jar © Kerry Walker

Combine the sugar, cider vinegar, water and salt in a pan. Bring to the boil briefly and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the liquor to cool completely. Fill the jars to the top and lid.

Filling jars with pickling liquor © Kerry Walker

Store in the fridge for a week or so for the flavours to develop. As long as you keep them refrigerated, these will last for a good nine months.

Serving suggestions

According to Helen, they are delicious with salads, ploughman’s lunch, in a sandwich or in a pasta sauce. They’re so garlicky they are great for encouraging social distancing… Win win!

Wild garlic buds ready for chilling © Kerry Walker

And if you fancy staying the night on Helen’s 90-acre organic St Dogmaels farm, she and her husband have recently converted two traditional buildings into holiday lets – Y Beudy and Y Stabl – using lime, slate and cast iron in keeping with the original character of the place.

Helen is planning to run foraging workshops in the future, so watch this space!