RAMSONS: Allium ursinum - wild garlic.
HABITAT: Damp, shady woodlands.
TASTE: All parts of the plant are edible, but I choose to leaves the bulbs because they are more like the roots of a spring onion and best left to grow again. Eaten raw, leaves have a much more pungent garlic taste than when cooked. The flower buds and tiny green seeds really do taste of garlic!
USES: The leaves can be used as an alternative to spinach, added to stir fries, omelettes, soups and sauces. The flowers and buds pack a more garlicky punch and can be added to salads and sandwiches.
HEALTH BENEFITS: High in Vitamin C and A. Rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Ramsons aids digestion, has antibacterial, antibiotic, antiseptic and possibly antiviral properties, and is proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
IDENTIFICATION: The leaves are long, oval and narrow, growing from the base of the plant. The flowers grow on straight green stems. The best way to identify wild garlic is to tear a leaf and smell it!
TIP: Wild garlic leaves are at their best while they're young and tender. Once the flowers come out, the leaves do get tougher and have a more bitter taste. Eat the flowers only while the seeds are green. When they turn black they may break your teeth!