wild garlic buds

Pickled Wild Garlic Buds

Wild garlic season is short. Even shorter is the window of opportunity to harvest wild garlic buds, before they bloom in to flowers. Pickled wild garlic bulbs are crunchy and aromatic, and taste delicious on thick slices of butter bread, tossed in to salads, or served as a condiment with a cheese board.

wild garlic buds


  • Enough wild garlic buds to fill your jar(s)*
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • mustard seeds and/ black peppercorns

* I take a jar out with me when foraging, to know exactly how many I need. This recipe is for approx. 3 jars.

wild garlic buds


Gently wash the garlic buds to get rid of any dirt or insects, drain and gently pat them dry. I do this by spreading them out on a clean dish towel and then laying another dish towel on top.

To make the pickling brine, add the vinegar, water, sugar and salt together and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Leave to cool.

Once the brine has cooled, sterilise three jars (or however many you are using) and fill them with the cleaned wild garlic buds – being careful not to touch the inside of the jar with your hands. Add half a teaspoon of mustard seeds and/ or a pinch of black peppercorns to each.

Pour the brine on top, filling the jars to about half an inch below the rim. If you have something sterile like a pickling pebble to place on top to weigh the buds down, that is even better as they are very light and float to the top. I keep meaning to buy some!

Seal the jars and leave them in a cool place for at least a week before eating, two weeks is even better. Unopened they should last for a few months, but once opened you need to keep them in the fridge and eat within a week. Though in our house, once opened they never last a week!

pickled wild garlic buds

NOTE: I did a lot of reading about hot pickling brine versus cold pickling brine. Hot brine will make your pickles last longer, but also softens them more as the boiling brine starts to cook them before it cools down. Cold pickling brine on the other hand preserves more of the crunchiness, and is apparently also better for things with subtle flavours. I didn’t want to delicate buds to be cooked, so I opted for cold brine in this recipe. To be on the safe side, in terms of how long they will keep, I only ever make 2-3 jars and store them in the fridge even when still unopened.

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