When the winter comes to its end, the desire for the spring to come becomes stronger and stronger. The snow melts, tiny little green leaves pop up the ground. It’s wild garlic, and for me it is the real sign that spring is knocking on the door.
Where does it grow, and how does it taste?
Wild garlic (Allium Ursinum), or also called Ramsons starts growing in February-March and gets flowers between April and June. Here in Austria it grows in the forest near a river. Wild garlic likes wet soil and shadow. Sometimes they sell it on the market though, but try to buy it as fresh as possible then.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the leaves off. Everything from this plant can be eaten and in some countries they just eat the bulbs, but I leave the bulbs in the ground. The leaves taste already great and out of the bulbs a new plant can grow next year. Or you take some of them and plant them in your own garden. Then you can harvest the leaves from your own garden!
Wild garlic tastes like a combination of chives and garlic and is quite strong so if you use it fresh through a salad, be careful with the amount of leaves you take. When you want to use wild garlic for a warm dish, always add the leaves on the latest moment, because they loose their taste when heaten up.
I love to go outside to harvest some leaves of this delicious wild herb. In general I enjoy picking wild herbs, fruits or vegetables. It’s just nice to feel less dependent of a supermarket and it is fun to do!
And is wild garlic healthy?
Wild garlic is very healthy. It is good for the liver, kidneys and heart. It lowers the blood pressure and its amount of sulfur is good for the skin. Wild garlic has a positive effect on the digestion and it contains a lot of Vitamin C. And because it is growing in the wild, you can be almost sure that they are not sprayed with any pesticides.
But watch out!
There are some dangers though with picking them. There are several other plants that look similar and are poisonous. Always rub the leaves between the fingers. Does it smell like garlic, then you are good. When you are not sure if you pick the right one, than stop and go home because it is not worth the risk.