Wild garlic/Ramsons/Bear’s garlic (Allium ursinum) crowds café menu placards here in springtime. It’s in right now, you see, very in (and just in the last five years or so, I’m told) *wide eyes blinking* – but it seems to be a little known and seldom (if ever) existing plant back in New Zealand. And it is Not to be confused with the noxious weed Allium vineale, which does commonly grow there, and which is coincidentally also known as ‘wild garlic’ for the sole purpose of confusing Everybody.
When I grow up, I tell you, and have my own sprawling gardens, ramsons will grow wild and UNKEMPT, congregating about tree trunks and fawning over white-orange daffodils before beginning to flower prettily themselves. Lily-white, to celebrate the end of the season. But early spring will no doubt be spent running up and down the wooded gardens, waving (madly) rakes and hoes and shouting (also madly) “Aghh!” in the futile attempt to deter passing bears from digging up the bulbs, as they are wont to do.
And when we go FORAGING, we will pillage them their luscious leaves and respectable stems. Then, transforming them swiftly into rich pesto, spring soups, steaming them gently and patting with butter, collapsing them into a Perfect Quiche, pretending they’re spinach by treating them so, or using the fellows as leeks, or scallions or regular garlic, in Everything.
Pesto, for example, shall be folded lovingly into just-cooked pasta (and pay attention to its sounds) followed by a mess of grated Parmesan and another good drizzle of olive oil, or slathered greedily on toast, under the grill. It will be very green and very fresh and very garlic and very Good (for you, most of all, because because because).
A bunch of ramsons
A clove or two of garlic (which is very optional, gives it a kick I tell you)
Bit of parsley
1/3-1/2 cup of toasted seeds/nuts (we had sunflower and pumpkin seeds on hand)
Squeezes of lemon juice
Generous dashes of olive oil
Teaspoon of salt
Toss all of the things into a blender (you’ve already toasted the seeds to your liking I see, very good) and whizz together until you can accurately say: “Hey, pesto!” Adjust to taste, more of this and more of that, like a learned witch at her electric cauldron. Keep the remains in a jar in the fridge, and I doubt he’ll last the week. One should always have a bright pesto of some description hanging about, for when you are crippled by hunger. Take that.