Wild Edible Of The Week - Week 7 - "Jack By The Hedge"

Botanical name : Alliaria petiolata

Common names : Jack By The Hedge, Garlic Mustard, Poor Man's Mustard, Sauce Alone, Jack In The Bush

Physical appearance : An annual or biennial, growing to just under a metre in height. The leaves are slightly toothed and usually vibrant green. The flowers are white and small.

Edible parts : Leaves.

Best places to find : Sides of roads and paths, hedgerows, woodland edges, open woodlands.

Time of year : Best harvested between September and October. Being a biennial, if there has been a mild Winter, it may also sprout in February/March.

Serving suggestions : Traditional use in the UK - the leaves are made into a sauce which works as an ideal accompaniment to lamb or salted fish. The leaves are mixed with vinegar and sugar (similar to traditional mint sauce). The flowers and fruits can also be used for this purpose. The seeds are sometimes added directly to food for flavour.

Other uses : Has been used as a disinfectant and diuretic.

NB - Please be sure you know what you are picking. Many plants look similar to one another and many can be poisonous! Please seek professional instruction if you are unsure!

Photo courtesy of Sannse and O Pichard via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en