Wild about Ramsons

It seems the very air I breath is permeated with wild garlic this week. Wild garlic or ramsons is similar to ramps, or wild leeks, both belonging to the allium family. Like ramps they grow anywhere moist and shady, like damp woods, stream banks etc. They do have a bulb which is edible, but it is small and finicky to harvest, with the bulb only being ready after about 3 seasons. The flowers are also edible, but much stronger than the leaves, making a few flowers a pretty and flavourful addition to robust summer salads. It is the leaves though, which are most sought after. Easy to harvest and prepare, and absolutely delicious.

I have a feeling that I am going slightly overboard with my wild garlic obsession, as my mom has just told me about an email she received from my daughter yesterday, where Dakota writes: ‘… I’m taking it easy on the garlic, but mom, ohhh!!!!, she can’t keep her hands off it!!!!!’ Even as I admit this I am writing about last night’s dinner and planning something for today, incorporating, you guessed it, wild garlic. I only hope the season is not over before I get through all the dishes I want to make.

Last night I made a real locavore’s salad of freshly dug new season potatoes, steamed Somerset asparagus and freshly foraged wild garlic. A little shaved parmesan and some hot lemon butter to finish it off and I officially pronounced it – Fabulous Dah-ling!

And for those of you who don’t know what wild garlic looks like, where to find it, or what bits to pick, here is a pictorial aid.

…slightly chive like, with white flower heads and bright green spearhead shaped leaves

…moist woods, and other damp areas such as stream banks

…tear off the leaves just above the stem (for regrowth) or snap off at the stem.

And if these clues don’t help, just follow the smell, it will guide you.

For the recipe for my Bashed new potato and wilted ramson salad with new season asparagus and lemon butter please click here or check out the Vanielje Kitchen Cook Book (vkcb) in the sidebar.

This is my entry for Andrea’s Grow Your Own event. I checked with her and wild garlic comes under the Hunter / gatherer clause apparently, so my entry is legit. It’s good to be back cooking with homegrown seasonal produce, so thank you summer and than you Andrea for a great event.

6 Responses to “Wild about Ramsons”

  1. on 15 May 2008 at 5:29 pm courtney

    Your on a roll. I can just imagine the scent and taste.

  2. on 15 May 2008 at 6:32 pm Jeni

    OH bella…I’ve been away from your blog for too long. You always inspire. I am like you in that when I find an special ingredient, I can get on a roll and want to create lots of dishes with it. By the looks of it, you have more wild garlic than you know what to do with! The recipes and photos all look inviting and delicious. Living in dry, hot, Southern California, I am sure I cannot find that around here…but I’ll keep my eyes peeled while in Italy.

  3. on 16 May 2008 at 1:48 pm Jeanne

    Well guess who’s got their blogging mojo back!! Nevre mind my cup – my reader overfloweth!

    I only discovered wild garlic last year and I am smitten. Your locavore’s meal sounds fantastic – I’ll have to plan a foraging trip to yours next spring :)

  4. on 02 Jun 2008 at 3:04 am Andrea

    (I left a comment earlier this month, but it’s not showing up. hmmm)

    Anyway, I love that photo of all the garlic flowers. Maybe I’ll find a treasure trove like this somewhere, who knows? Love the salad you made. Thanks again for a lovely entry for Grow Your Own!

  5. on 02 Jun 2008 at 7:20 pm african vanielje

    Courtney, Jeni, Jeanne and Andrea, the rain has put paid to the wild garlic for now, but maybe we will get a second crop? I’m hoping. Andrea, I’ve gotten so much spam lately that I’ve accidentally deleted some legit comments too, sorry!

  6. [...] keep hoping I’ll stumble over a treasure trove of wild garlic (ransoms) like Inge of Vanielje Kitchen (Somerset, England), but it hasn’t happened yet. She [...]

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