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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Ted goes wild ...

… well you would you wouldn't you if you spent most of your year surrounded by your siblings living underground in ancient and damp UK woodlands. Come spring naturally you’d burst into flower, cloak yourself in spring green finery, and enhance your natural odour to attract attention, who could possibly blame you.  

Known by your formal name of Ramson, you are part of the handsome Darcy family, and brother to the "Mr Darcy" in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. The “4th brother” … walking on the wild side ... or so obscure manuscripts would have us believe.

You are of course more commonly known as “wild garlic” and are a real seasonal favourite across the UK. Your other posh name is Allium Ursinum, and in addition to your brothers, you also have distant cousins called garlic, bears garlic (cos they dig it up and rub it all over themselves to attract other Bears for err ah you know what) … and chives. You do, however, prefer hanging out in close proximity to your real love  ... Bluebells, especially when you’re both at your show off best above ground around now every year - especially with the dandelion wild hair. Unlike Bluebells though you are approached by foragers with serious intent … as you are a delicious ingredient that adds a certain seasonal “je ne sais quoi” to each dish you inhabit.

Seems you've been appreciated for a very long time with the earliest signs of animal consumption going back to 10,000 BC and us bi-peds waking up to your delights after eating the meat of animals that had been consuming your large green and plentiful leaves. Today I can buy you in any of the good UK markets in your short season, and thus avoid the need to go out into the potentially smelly countryside in my new Wellington's

I can appreciate you raw – you’ll be pungent and fiery, but cooked you’re a whole different experience. Wilted in olive oil, you are an instant garlicky alternative to spinach. Served with Jersey Royals (baby potatoes from oddly … Jersey) and asparagus with roast chicken, spring lamb, or even trout, and you have a real seasonal treat.

Worried that you won’t be able to tell a ramson from the lookalike non family member Lilly of the Valley (which you should not eat) … easy just grab a bit of the beautiful plumage, crush it and smell … you’ll know …

6 comments:

Sharon Anck said...

Since I love garlic in almost everything, this is something I think I would enjoy. I've never eaten the leaves of this plant before. Sounds like something I should try.

William Kendall said...

Garlic's welcome in any meal. Well, except if you're a vampire.

joo said...

Love garlic, love forget-me-not, love bluebells!The first photo is awesome.

Valerie said...

Love the photo of the bluebell field and bluebells. Thanks for the back story too. I imagine roast garlic infused bear would have been a real treat in prehistoric times!

Geoff Wilkinson said...

Fascinating stuff as always, smashing picture of the bluebell wood...

Pietro and Cynthia said...

Lovely green in the first image!

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