By Daphne Lambert from Greencusine Trust – supporting partner of the BDGC
Wild Garlic (ramsons)
Wild garlic grows in shady, damp woodlands and hedgerows. The pungent smell of garlic fills the air long before the plants are sighted. Wild garlic can be a rampant grower creating a vista of luscious green leaves and white flower heads as far as the eye can see. If you have a shady part of the garden or allotment you could try cultivating a small patch, though it is not always that easy to grow; however, if you succeed you will have a very nutritious addition to spring dishes.
Wild garlic has similar medicinal properties to those of garlic. The leaves are antibacterial, antibiotic and possibly antiviral. They contain an abundance of phytochemicals and healing sulphur components and the potent antioxidants guard against DNA damage. Wild garlic is rich in chlorophyll making the leaves the perfect spring rejuvenation food.
The leaves can be chopped up raw in salad, they partner well with eggs and potatoes, and are delicious fermented. I always pickle the flower buds and savour the flavour in the winter months when gathering armfuls of wild garlic is a distant memory.
Wild garlic soup
6 handfuls of wild garlic
2 large potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt & black pepper
Separate out the leaves, stalks and any flowers from the wild garlic.
Set aside 4 flower heads then chop the remaining flowers along with the stalks.
Gently cook the onion and potatoes in the olive oil and butter for 15 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic stalks and flowers and stir well.
Tip in the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
Chop the garlic leaves and add to the soup simmer for a further 3 minutes.
Process in food processor until smooth & creamy.
Return to the pan, heat through and season as necessary.
Divide between 4 bowls and top each soup with a white flower head.