Down in the bottom of our garden there grows some wild garlic.
Several years ago whilst out walking we were surrounded by the aroma of garlic.
It reminded me of long ago when as a child we often walked along the river banks in Durham City.
We never thought to grow it, probably because back in the sixties in the North East we knew nothing about garlic!
However, this time my husband decided to take home a couple of roots. He planted them and we then forgot all about our foraged plants.
Nowadays wild garlic is very fashionable and rather costly.
Our plants thrive and this year we have popped them into salads, soup and chopped very finely in salad dressing.
The flavour is not as strong as normal garlic and it is the leaves that we harvest as the bulbs are very small.
Cooking the leaves does not really work they lose their flavour. Pop them in at the last moment if using in a hot dish.
Wild garlic is also known as ransoms, buckrams, bear leek and is a wild relative of chives.
The leaves can be found growing from late winter and throughout spring. At the end of their season they burst into star-like white flowers.
They need little care but be aware if you forage in the wild for your own leaves. They grow long and lush but can be found in amongst various other plants that may well be inedible.
Allium ursinum is the Latin name for wild garlic and, apparently refers to the brown bear’s taste for the bulbs! They are also well liked by wild boar.
Throughout Europe it is a traditional spring tonic which helps to purify the blood and is also thought to lower cholesterol.
Once upon a time the leaves were boiled up and the liquid was used as a disinfectant.
And finally, the presence of wild garlic is a good indicator of you being in ancient woodland. I love that fact!