Jack by the hedge

4th February 2013

Once the snow has gone you will regularly stumble across this common hedgerow plant Hedge Garlic Alliaria petiolata also known as Garlic Mustard or Jack-by-the-hedge.

This common biennial is a member of the cabbage family and among other things contains the allyl sulphide compounds found in garlic and the isothiocyanates that are present in mustard, and these come through when you taste it.  It can be found and used all through the year and virtually every part of the plant can be used.  At this time of year it is the young leaves that are used.

Hedge Garlic Alliaria petiolata

The garlic flavour is not particularly robust and does not withstand cooking so it is usually used raw or added to dishes right at the end. They are particularly good stirred in to pasta dishes, buttery mash  or risottos.  The slight bitter flavour when raw can be tempered with fatty or salty foods, it is a fantastic addition to mayonnaise and used either in potato salads or to accompany boiled eggs.  Like this the garlic flavour is very subtle and the mustardy bitterness disappears completely.

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