Thursday, 19 April 2012

Kitchen Krafts - Wild Ramsons

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Finally, after promising to give you info on this wonderful herb, I managed to get out into the woods and go collecting. The weather let up for about an hour or so and hubby and I rushed into the woods to check if there would be anything to collect. Lo-and Behold, I was lucky and managed to collect a couple of bags full of Wild Ramsons (wild garlic / Bärlauch in German) for my in-laws and ourselves. 
This will belong to a series of posts that I will continue with throughout my year. I will tell you all about the plants I come across in nature, and give you interesting tidbits and where I can - recipes. Please feel free to add to the info or share your own if you have of each of the plants that I will be discussing.
So lets start with the basics:
The latin name is Allium Ursinum. 
The leaves of the plant become visible from the middle of April onwards. It is advisable to collect the leaves before the blossoms start to show themselves as it loses much of its' healing properties once they are in bloom.
It is wonderful for any kind of stomach and/or intestinal issue, and can also be used to help generate an appetite and has similar traits to household garlic. The oldwives tale related to this herb is that it helps to sink blood pressure and helps with arteriosclerosis.
If you are wanting to go out and collect your own Wild Garlic here is a BIG warning!!!
Generally, Wild Ramsons grows next to its' VERY poisonous neighbour Meadow Safron (Colchicum autumnale). 
Meadow Safron
These two plants are often confused! This error can and will be fatal! 
There is a sure-proof way to identify the REAL thing and that is by its' extremely fragrant leaves. Wild Ramsons has the most amazing "garlicy" smell - it is wonderful. The Meadow Safron smells like nothing. Although these two plants can be mistaken I find it easy to notice which is which and you will too after a while. The Wild Ramsons have more of a broader leaf whereas the Meadow Safron's leaves are much thinner. The whorls on the two plants are also different.
Wild Ramsons
The leaves of the Wild Ramsons can also be mistaken for the plant Lily of the Valley, but these two do not generally grow in the same area and Lily of the Valley tends to blossom before the Wild Ramsons are out. The Meadow Saffron and Wild Ramsons are generally found together as neighbours! Another way to identify them would be to come back to the spot where you found the leaves once the plants are in blossom, as then they are very easily identified.
Please be advised that if you are not sure what you are collecting rather leave it be and if you live in Europe, you can generally find the Wild Ramsons on sale in your local supermarket when they are available. 
So now you have collected your greens - what to do with them?
Well, I have a couple of things I do with mine.
I dehyrdate some of the leaves as I like to add this to my seasoning for the added properties, as well as the wonderful aroma it gives the food.
I also freeze a bag full so that if I want to make a pesto or paste at a later stage of the year I can. Be sure to label your bag and date it. I generally do not wash the leaves for this as they become quite difficult to separate once frozen if washed.
I also make a bottle of paste that I can add to marinades, cooking etc. which I keep in the fridge. 
To do this, take some washed leaves - about 100g, (if less then vary you other ingredients till it tastes good), roughly 10g of salt and about 4 Tablespoons of EV Olive Oil.
Add all ingredients to the kitchen mixer and whiz until you get a pastey consistency.
Place in a bottle and label. Keep in the fridge and use as necessary. As long as there is enough oil in the paste it will help the herb not to go mouldy.
To round off:
Here is a recipe for Wild Ramsons Pesto
125g Wild Ramsons washed
30g Parmesan Cheese grated
50g Pine Nuts slightly roasted
125ml Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to the kitchen machine and whiz until you have a fine pesto-like mixture. You can bottle as I did the paste above for when you want to make pasta or use straight away. Once pasta is cooked, add as much as you would like to the warm rinsed pasta. Mix and serve - Delicious!!
Be sure to come by next week where I will be talking about Dandelions.

Have you got any tips or tricks for the household to share? A good recipe, a tradition? I invite you to share below. Please be sure to link back to this site. You may use the image below. Please visit other linked sites to show support. Thanks - Till next week happy Krafting!


7 comments:

  1. Picking your own wild garlic sounds wonderful (even if you have to be super careful to get the right stuff!). I remember picking mushrooms with my mum when I was little - such fond memories :-)

    Thanks for sharing on Happy lil ❤'s are baking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly,

      I agree, there is nothing more invigorating than being out in nature getting your hands dirty. It is so peaceful, and healing for the soul.

      Thanks for sharing.
      x

      Delete
  2. This is such an amazing post Natalie, thank you so much!!
    xo xo
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  3. I look forward to this series of posts. I love to learn how to use foraged food from Nature in addition to what is growing in my garden. Thanks for sharing your information. I look forward to the dandelion post as I often find my oldest munching on them in the back yard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalie,

      That is great :-D.
      I will be blogging about all the herbs and plants that you can find and their uses as I come across them throughout the seasons.
      If I may ask - how old is your eldest? There is nothing wrong with munching on them, but my guess is that there is obviously a reason why the need to eat the plant is there, I mean lets face it, dandelions do not taste like candy!
      I will incorporate all the reasons why, and situations when we could use this plant in next weeks' post. If you have questions unanswered after that, please don't hesitate to ask :-D

      Thanks for your visit.

      Have a super weekend.

      x

      Delete
  4. Interesting post I found on Google today about wild garlic. Several years ago, while out walking in an old Civil War battleground near a stream, I noticed what I thought were wild garlic plants (or ransoms, as you call them). I picked some, took them home, cleaned and sliced them up, sauteeing them in butter. I happened to notice there was no onion-y or garlicky odor during cooking. I brought a spoonful of the buttery stuff up to my nose and, I was right, no odor, except for the butter. It was then I realized I had nearly poisoned myself with the wrong plant.

    ReplyDelete

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I used to be a homeschool mom, and now that my children go to school, am a mom who has found a creative side and am exploring that with great delight!

I am interested in alternative therapies, studied as a vibrational therapist and incorporate my beliefs into my everyday life.

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