Foraging for Hedge Garlic/Jack-By-The-Hedge

(Alliaria petiolata)

Hedge Garlic, also named Jack-By-The-Hedge, is a common hedgerow plant that grows throughout the UK. It is part of the group of plants that belong to the cabbage family, not an allium.

It has a mild garlic and mustardy flavour. The tastiest leaves grow in spring, yet it does produce more leaves in autumn. The plant produces long, green seed pods after flowering.

The leaves are great to add to eat raw, or can be added to a variety of cooked dishes, although it does lose its flavour if overcooked. The flowers are also edible.

 

What does Hedge Garlic look like?

Hedge Garlic has rounded, heart shaped leaves that get smaller the nearer they get to the top of the plant. The flowers appear in April, and they are small, white with four petals. Hedge Garlic can grow to a metre in height.

When you squash the leaves between your fingers, you will be able to smell a mild garlic fragrance.

How to eat Hedge Garlic

Hedge Garlic, or Jack-By-The-Hedge, is a great ingredient for homemade pesto. You can also gather the seeds from the pods and dry them to use throughout the year. The seeds can be used as a spice to add flavour to a variety of dishes.