When the days start to get longer, and with the first warming rays of sunshine mingling in the air with the fragrance of fresh grasses and flowers, we know that the Ramson season must be upon us again. But what exactly is Ramson, and what recipes can it be used in?
Ramson, more commonly known as ‘wild garlic’ or ‘bear’s garlic’, belongs to the lily family, and is in season from March to June. You can find it growing wild with other herbs in the shady and nutrient-rich soils of deciduous and mixed woodland, as well as in parks and riverside woodlands.
When heated, its intense fragrance transforms into a mild garlic aroma, making it especially well suited to preparing herb or garlic butter. Raw uncooked Ramson is a real taste experience and is great when used to season soups, and when added to vegetable and salad dishes. It is also particularly tasty as a pesto with pasta and, when steamed, it is a good alternative to spinach. The leaves are at their best when they are fresh, since they easily lose their flavour when over-cooked or dried.
So, as you can see, Ramson is a highly versatile ingredient that can be used in a whole host of recipes. If you decide you want to try out some of these ideas, but don’t want to your wild ingredient to lose its freshness, that’s not a problem: Ramson will stay fresh in a normal fridge compartment for up to 6 days and, in a Liebherr BioFresh compartment, for up to 13 days. One of the best ways to have Ramson around to use for even longer is to turn it into a delicious pesto. It’s quick to prepare and can be frozen so, even if you’re in a rush, you can make some mouth-watering spaghetti with Ramson pesto – and be enjoying it in next to no time!
However, please be aware that, as pleasantly aromatic and attractive as Ramson is, this flavoursome cooking-herb has lots of impersonators that you really need to look out for, and certainly not bring into your kitchen! The Lily of the Valley and the Autumn Crocus are easily mistaken for Ramson, but they are poisonous!
Our tip: To be safe and sure that the herb you are dealing with actually is Ramson, we recommend that you buy it from your greengrocer or grow your own. The plants can be bought from garden centres and will certainly look great in your garden or in a window box, and they will also guarantee that your next Ramson recipe is a sure-fire hit.
What’s your favourite way to eat Ramson? Send us your favourite recipes in the comments below or discuss it with us on Facebook and Twitter.