Walking through a wooded area in the Lake District I saw ramsons everywhere. The trees stood in a beautiful spot surrounding a rippling river.
Ramsons is also known as wild garlic. I wasn’t sure I had found wild garlic until I pulled up a leaf and smelt the unmistakable garlic odour. If that wasn’t enough to persuade me seeing the ramsons flower pods did. The pods looked like they were filled with lots of tiny white balls.
These herbs are native to the woodlands in Europe and I found them in February. How exciting to find a herb that I could forage so early on in the year!
I’ll be looking for them around hedgerows too but ramsons does prefer damp areas.
I’m always careful to forage off the walking paths just in case dogs have decided to do their business there. I leave the bulbs as well so that they can grow again the following year.
If your new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;
Both ramsons leaves and flowers can be eaten but the leaves are best picked before their flowers die in May.
I’m very careful when eating a food that I have never eaten before because until I do I don’t know if I am going to be intolerant or allergic to it. Therefore I only eat a tiny amount initially and wait a day or so for any possible reaction. If everything is fine I will consume the new food with no worries.
I have read about people who are allergic to things like parsley. This certainly made me think twice about sprinkling it on while cooking for others! Therefore I feel its best to be careful with anything new because no one person is the same.
Source of Vitamin C
Ramsons is rich in vitamin C and was eaten to prevent scurvy many years ago.
Vitamin C is a important vitamin for our immune systems, healthy bones and tissues. Its also necessary for the absorption of iron.
Not enough vitamin C may lead to various problems such as;
- Bleeding gums and loose teeth
- High blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Oedema (excessive accumulation of fluid, mainly water, in the tissue spaces of the body)
- Poor wound healing
- Weak immune system
Making Ramsons Sauce
I decided to make a ramsons sauce with my leaves because its suggested to be useful for my digestive problems.
Firstly I washed the collected leaves.
Using a colander to do this I then gave them a good shake to remove the water drips.
Next I placed the leaves in a dish and covered them with olive oil and cider vinegar. The cider vinegar will preserve the sauce for six months. Not that I think it will last anywhere near that long!
I used a mix of approximately one part cider vinegar to three parts olive oil until the leaves were covered.
I blended the cider vinegar, olive oil and leaves until they were chopped beautifully.
At this stage I couldn’t resist a little taste because it smelt amazing. I ate half a teaspoonful and it was like a burst of fresh spring onions in my mouth but better.
Next I poured the mixture into a glass bottle.
Lastly as always I labelled my ramsons sauce. I put on the ingredients, expiry date and its uses. Then I popped the bottle into the fridge until required.
I’ve used the sauce on a salad already and it tasted delicious but I bet it would also make a great pasta sauce.
Ramsons pesto sounds delicious too and I have read that there are a lot of different ways to change the taste.
Creating the pesto is similar to the sauce but I would blend the leaves with just a covering of olive oil.
When I next pick ramsons I’m going to try adding chopped up almonds because they are my favourite nut. I may also add a little raw unpasteurised cheese or feta. My stomach violently rejects pasteurised products but a little raw on rare occasions isn’t too bad.
I drink a lot of almond milk too due to my intolerance and I much prefer the taste to standard milk.
Ramsons attracts me personally because one of its uses suggests use as a tonic for the digestive system and to ease stomach pain.
Other suggestions where eating ramsons may support the body include;
- Lowering blood pressure.
- Stimulating the circulation
- Reducing gas and bloating
Its even thought to be helpful to those with asthma but is mainly suggested for preventative health.
When Ramson Flowers
I also pick ramsons while it flowers at the end of April. It looks absolutely beautiful scattered among the bluebells.
It still smells strongly of garlic but their leaves are much floppier. The wild garlic did not have such a strong taste after flowering but it still made a fantastic ramson’s sauce.
Finally I want to mention that folklore says that wild garlic had the ability to ward off vampires and evil spirits.
I’ve not seen any vampires of the blood sucking variety myself but I have come across a few energy vampires!
Enjoy foraging for ramsons and please share any other ideas on how to eat it on the comments below.
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