On the wild side – bear’s garlic pesto

“Admit it. You’ve hidden your favorite food from your family. At least once.”¬†~ I have. Sorry, Mom and Dad ūüôā

At this very moment I am sitting in the office, looking out the window and wishing I was out in the meadows somewhere further from the city busy-ness. I feel I was born to be wild. Roaming through forests, finding my way through in the¬†wilderness, sleeping somewhere under the stars or in a small country house… #amIthinkingofmoving?

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Now it’s that feeling of summer in it’s rawest form – sunny and hot, when the pavements of the city seem to be too painful to walk on. I’m aching for nature and everything unbelievably awesome it has to offer #minusmosquitos #althoughIcansurvivethat.

The phone rings and kicks me back to reality. Hungry! As most days, I have my lunchbox with me, stuffed with homegrown lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, spinach and dill. Summer puts everything in a different perspective. Winter time I crave for something “heavier” on my salad – tuna, burrata or something else to give it more body. Now – top that with a spoonful of bear’s garlic pesto and I’m good to go, with a few more minutes to roam in my thoughts far from the city.

Can’t explain well enough how much I love all wild herbs, berries and mushrooms. Bear’s garlic – also known as ¬†ramsons,¬†buckrams,¬†wild garlic,¬†broad-leaved garlic,¬†wood garlic,¬†bear leek – is one of those things I can’t wait to show up each year. The story behind the¬† name has something to do with the actual bears. Once they wake up feeling sore and painful after long hibernation, bears search for this amazing herb to restock on vitality and vitamins. It’s referred to as an early spring tonic for its blood purifying characteristics and is known to reduce cholesterol. Despite its strong scent, it is much milder than the traditional garlic. And although it may be easily confused with the lilly of the valley which is poisonous, if any doubt – pick a leave, rub with your fingers and smell it¬† – you’ll definitely know. Besides, if it’s blooming, there’s no way to make a mistake.

Now there is a twist to it – in Lithuania it is a protected plant. If you do know where to find it – be reasonable in taking just enough, safeguarding this herb’s future existence.

Bear's garlic pesto

  • 2 Handfuls Fresh bear's garlic leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Pieces Parmigiano
  • ~100 ml Olive oil
  • Salt'n'pepper
  1. Blend everything together. Go with 1 garlic clove at first to see if it is not too much. Your handful of bear’s garlic may differ from mine.

  2. When adding oil – see what you prefer. I like it a bit thicker, so tend to use less oil. Yet if you add more, it will be preserved a bit better. 

  3. I froze a few small containers for winter – small portions to be used at once when defrosted.

  4. Jazz with it as much as you want. Use nuts instead of sunflower seeds if desired, add some parsley or a few leaves of basil if you like. I missed a few leaves when making my last batch, therefore through in some arugula and spinach and ended up having a different flavor. 

  5. I like to put pesto on different things – pasta, fish, grilled piece of rye bread or ciabatta, goat cheese. The other day mixed it with some tomatoes and cottage cheese, topped with a few fresh basil leaves and drizzled with a few extra drops of last season’s Cretan olive oil. Fingerlicking good!

Bon appetit!

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