Ramsons, known by many as ‘Wild Garlic,’ * are a signifier of spring with their vibrant green colour and bold garlicky flavour.
An aromatic reminder of weekend walks through the forest as the temperatures start to warm. Much to our enjoyment, wild garlic has arrived! Some say it’s come early this year, but I believe plants come when they are ready, so it has arrived just in time. As of now, the leaves are still relatively small, about the length of my hand, but as the season continues the leaves can grow to be as long as my forearm and about three fingers wide. Ramsons have so many applications, one of my personal favourites is pesto. Below you will find a recipe which can easily be adapted to be suitable for a vegan diet.
50g hard cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano) OR 50g Kalamata Olives (if vegan)
75ml Olive oil
Splash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon
Pinch of salt
Begin by washing your Ramsons.
Lay them out on a tea towel and pat dry.
Have a good look through your Ramsons to be sure you haven’t accidentally picked anything else.
There are three poisonous plants that can often be found growing amongst Ramsons.
The first being Lords and Ladies Arum maculatum
The second being Dog’s Mercury Mercurialis perennis
The third being Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Put the cashews and cheese (or olives) along with half of the Ramsons into the bowl of your food processor.
Pulse to chop.
Add the remaining half of the Ramsons and continue to pulse until well chopped.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
While the blade is spinning, slowly pour in the oil, add the pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Blend until you have reached a desired consistency.
Enjoy as you would any pesto.
*There are many types of wild garlic beyond Ramsons.
As the name suggests the stalk of this type of wild garlic has a triangular cross-section, with three segments converging along the mid-line. Three-cornered garlic often looks like thick grass growing in gardens, on banks, or around park benches. Three-cornered garlic is not as pungent as Ramsons, and have a juicier, lighter garlic flavour. Lovely with eggs or tossed in a salad.
Produces a long thin stem with reddish-purple bulbils at the top. The bulbils look like a cluster of tiny garlic bulbs with a rather strong garlic flavour. The bulbils can be slightly papery and therefore are often used for flavouring, although they are still lovely in a salad or coleslaw.
Few Flowered Leek
Resembles a very thin spring onion with a small bulb at the base. With its onion-y flavour and sturdy texture this wild garlic is not only excellent raw, but it holds up nicely to cooking. I love eating them as if they were noodles.
Rosy Garlic Flowers
Are often planted as an ornamental plant to ward off deer and squirrels with their strong fragrance. Rosy garlic produces a globular clusters of beautiful pale pinkish/lilac flowers poking out between the deep rose coloured bulbils. The flowers are a strong but harmonious blend of floral and garlic flavours.