The flavour of the week is Ramsons. Ramsons are a plant with a taste lying somewhere between garlic and leeks, with a pleasant grassy undertone. They are also known as wood garlic, broad-leafed garlic, and bear’s garlic- owing to the ursine predilection for the plant.
Ramsons have long broad-stemmed leaves and lovely white flowers resembling Lily-of-the-Valley. They grow in wetter deciduous woodlands, often close to the coastline. They are capable of wiping out other herbs in the surrounding area and forming dense stands amongst the trees. When they are in bloom the entire area is redolent with their sharp garlicky smell.
The entire plant is edible. The leaves can be used in salads, boiled as a vegetable, or as a seasoning agent. The flowers give off a strong aromatic garlic scent and can be used much in the same way as a chive blossom. In Russia it is popular to salt and preserve the stems and bulbs for use in salads. Ramsons can also be used to flavour the milk of grazing animals, thereby affecting the cheese and butter that they produce.
Use Ramsons in place of leeks, ramps, shallots, or garlic in recipes that call for these ingredients.