Ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek, or bear's garlic ... all names for 'wild garlic,' commonly found in the great outdoors in Europe and a great excuse to go foraging.
The latin name for the garlic, 'allium ursinum,' comes from brown bears' love of this tasty herb. The season coincides with the end of the bear's hibernation when they love to spoil themselves by eating these tiny wild plants.
WILD GARLIC: WHAT IS IT?
Garlic is a wild plant that usually grows in the undergrowth, damp plots, or near watercourses. The first leaves appear between February and March, the buds in April and the white flowers from April to June.
A distant relative of chives, wild garlic leaves boast distinct piquantness and mild sweetness akin to leeks and spring onions.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND WILD GARLIC?
Wild garlic is a prolific grower in temperate lowlands and can easily be found by doing your own foraging on a woodland walk.
Wild garlic can be recognised by the six-petal white flowers that form a kind of umbrella. If you have any identification doubts, leave the harvesting to the experts, as it can be confused with poisonous lily of the valley.
HOW TO USE GARLIC IN THE KITCHEN?
The leaves are the most distinct and versatile part of the plant and are used in preference over the bulb. The edible flowers also make a pretty addition to garnishing dishes.
COOKING WITH WILD GARLIC?
Substitute wild garlic for basil and blend it into pesto, to season your pâtées, or even as a sauce with pasta or vegetables.
If you add extra oil to increase the viscosity, you can use it to make a delicious salad dressing, or even add some to your hummus to give it that extra edge.
Wild garlic is also delicious added to quiches, savoury pies or bread. You can even try adding garlic to a potato gratin, during stir fry cooking or any other stove top pan cooking.