A couple of weeks ago we met up with some old friends for lunch and since we were converging from a number of locations we ended up driving cross-country to get there. En-route I noticed a couple of large patches of wild garlic (ransoms, ramps, broad-leaf garlic i.e. Allium ursinum) twinkling in the dappled sunlight.
This was the first time I’d seen any around Cambridgeshire, so made a mental note to return, if I could find the time, to do a spot of foraging. I particularly wanted to try some recipes that I’d seen last year from:
- Julia Sforza of The Preserved Life for pickled wild garlic
- Nigel Slater in the Guardian for garlic leaf butter
- Forage Wild Food blog for Ransom soup
So a week later, when I was on my way to the supermarket (you’re getting the impression that I hate shopping I am sure), I took a slight detour to include the woods where I’d seen the wild garlic.
Finding a safe place to park was the first problem. Then it turned out that the first expanse of wild garlic that I’d seen was in fact a wooded extension to someone’s garden. So I drove on to the second patch and luckily there was a muddy, rutted space off road nearby. That should have warned me that I was not the first here. However, I got out and took some photos of the starry carpet.
Then I wove my way a little deeper along a bit of a trail to get some immersive views and that is when I saw the devastation cause by thoughtless, greedy people. A large area had been completely chopped to ground level and worse, several patches had just been dug right up.
Suddenly all the fun went out of the trip. I returned to the car empty handed. OK that is not quite true. I took a single leaf from a dense patch just to taste it.
So I have come home and ordered a batch of ransoms in the green from a company called Naturescape and I am going to plant my own patch around our little pond at the edge of the boggy bit. I hope they bulk up fast!
What did I do with the single leaf? I added it to some mushrooms that I fried for tea …. and it was delicious.