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Wild Garlic Recipes ~ by catherine

Wild Garlic Recipes

Anyone who’s walked through a wood and smelt that distinctive onion-y smell has been near one of the commonest, but little used, wild foods. Wild Garlic (Alium ursinum) or ransoms is common in woods all over the UK. There are usually plenty of them – they spread rapidly once they’re established.

Ransoms have glossy flopped-over, rabbit-ear shaped leaves and white, star-shaped flowers. They’re easy to identify, because you’ll be able to smell them. Fortunately, they don’t taste nearly as strong as they smell!

Unlike cultivated garlic, the bulbs are very small and not worth bothering with. Just cut some leaves at the base without disturbing the plant. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

I think the best uses for them are the simplest: an omelette made with your freshest eggs with some garlic leaves snipped into them.

For something more substantial:

Wild Garlic and Potato Soup

25g butter

couple of handfuls of wild garlic leaves

2 medium-sized potatoes

800 ml of chicken or vegetable stock

salt & pepper

Melt the butter in your soup pot. Roll the leaves, cigar-fashion, and then slice across into strips. Add them to the pot and put the lid on. Let them soften in the butter while you peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. When the leaves are wilted add the potatoes and the stock. Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are really soft. If you like, add a spoonful of cream and liquidize the soup.

They’re also good in Chinese-style stir frys with some ginger and a splash of soy sauce.

Ransoms have the same health benefits as cultivated garlic, in fact they are thought to be superior. Tucking in might also keep away those troublesome midges (see blog http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/wildlife/midges-mosquitoes-and-marmite-coping-with-insects-in-woodlands/) !

Does anyone know if you can use the flowers and seeds like you can with chives?

Posted in: Flora & Fauna, Practical Guides ~ On: 20 June, 2008

26 comments so far

1 July, 2008

Yes the flowers are edible and are good in salads. I would only use the newest leaves otherwise they can be a little tough.

8 July, 2008

I’ve just bought a piece of woodland and would like to introduce some wild garlic to it. Would anybody be able to supply me with some, whenever it’s the best time to plant it.

20 July, 2008

Hi Andy – I’m sure somebody might give you some (some people look on them as a bit of a pest), but failing that http://www.wildflowershop.co.uk/ have ransoms in their bulbs section.

31 July, 2008

Hi Catherine,
Thanks for that. I didn’t know that Ransoms had so much,probably be easier to get them there.Problem is that’s another web site where I’m now going to spend hours!.

8 April, 2009

I use the leaves when I am roasting chicken, lamb, etc. I also add them to casseroles.
I live in woodland so there is masses.

20 February, 2010

The very best bit of the wild garlic plant is the flower pods, just before they pop. Sautee them in a half butter, half olive oil until they begin to turn a little brown at the edges. Delicious!

3 April, 2010

i think that the clove bit of the wild garlic is the best been made into a puree and mixed with the chopped leaves and stuffed in woodcock with a nice rabbit meat stock to go with it. extreemly delicious

17 April, 2010

With amazing suddenness it’s Spring! During the Winter I’d forgotten the delights of foraging. Now, surrounded by young garlic leaves, I can’t decide which recipe to go for first. And nearby there are the nettles, young, fresh greens – so appealing at this time of year!. And very soon there will be sorrel. Just as well these are rather time-consuming to pick or I’d be tempted to eat more than is good for me! . And all of them growing in my garden – as weeds! What richness!

By the way it’s ramson not ransom. I get it wrong half the time when speaking it. Easier to say wild garlic – but as I see “ramson” isn’t recognised by my computer’s American spelling check perhaps I’ll persist with it!

22 April, 2010

I made a lovely soup today. Ramsons, good vegetable stock (can use free range chicken stock), potato, 1 stick of celery and lettuce. I added (Elmlea) single cream after cooking had finished and seasoned carefully. Delish!!!!

27 April, 2010

Medicinally, wild garlic is an excellent blood tonic, and whole-system cleaner. It also stops you being bitten by midgeys and mozzies, as it makes your blood more bitter, and the biters like sweet-blood.

It is not as universally available as sometimes thought – in East Kent, with mostly chalk soils, it is rarer than the ever-pervasive and seemingly useless Dogs Mercury. But there are patches of the right woodlands, where it out-competes every other flora, and makes for delicious pickings.

I make a pesto, with cashews, olive oil, parmesan, salt pepper, and lots of galric leaves and bulbs, all blended together. A ratio of 2 parts garlic to 1 part everything else. It is very very good. A handful of chickweed also makes the taste even better – another much under-valued weed, with added benefit of skin cleansing effects.

Also – a tincture, of garlic leaves in 40% alcohol, makes a strong medicinal tonic. Mix it with Elderberry tincture, for a winter cold-relief.

But best of all is raw raw raw…the taste and scent are with you all day, so be ready for fools in foul perfumes making clever-clog comments.
So not only does the wild garlic keep you healthy, it keeps you safe from numptys.
happy garlicking, all.

24 May, 2010

I have just discovered a large patch of Wild garlic in a wooded area near my home. I took a few leaves home to check if they the correct thing. I am delighted to say that they are the real deal and delicious. I will be going back tomorrow and picking a substantial amount to use in the various recipes I have found on here.

27 June, 2010

I have a huge amount of ramson in my garden its spreads all over but it makes the whole garden smell amazing, I am going to use all parts of it to cook with as I hadn’t seen any usful recipes before now. So potato, garlic and leek soup and some garlic foccacia bread here I come!

17 April, 2011

I am lucky and very happy to live on the isle of. Wight there is a village near me called shorewell and every road in and out of village has ransoms growing have just picked loads now going for a feast

24 April, 2011

Have got wild garlic growing in frong garden of house, End terrace and garden about 6feet square, the question I have is can the leaves be frozen and if so how best to store them

9 May, 2011

I have quite a patch of wild garlic growing in my garden in the Highlands of Scotland. I’ve only just started to use it, last year and now this spring. Try layering some leaves in Dauphinoise potatoes, or wrapping the leaves around carrot sticks and tying with chives then decorated with the blooms! Looks superb on the plate. Just need more time to harvest and store it!!

21 March, 2012

Well- I’m going to try wild garlic leaves and something – haven’t decided yet – muffins … will let you know how it goes.

29 April, 2012

Try Wild Garlic crisps…. Stretch cling film over a plate, wipe a leave with rapeseed oil on both sides, smooth out leave onto stretched cling filim, stretch more cling film over the top! microwave on high for 2 minutes, lovely crispy garlic leaf crisp. Works with basil, tarragon also….

12 May, 2013

i’ve just found this site for ransom soup as i have a plentiful supply in my garden and am going to make the most of it.
What an interesting site with so many peple swapping ideas etc.
andy – don’t but any I can supply you with an introductory amount!

Clewers Lane Nature diary. | Waltham Chase Village website
16 June, 2013

[…] have burst into flower and the Cow Parsley has grown tall on the verges. Here and there, patches of  Wild Garlic – also known as Ransomes – can be seen contributing to the colour […]

13 April, 2014

i have a plentiful supply in my garden (in fact it’s getting overrun!) if anyone wants any bulbs i would be able to post some) they’re easy enough to cultivate – just plant them in the garden and watch them take over – but they are great in soups and salads

Lesley Aylward
6 May, 2014

Great news about the midge repellent properties. Living in the Clyde valley we have wild garlic and midges in abundance! Try wild garlic cheese using natural strained yogurt, mixed with sea salt and finely chopped leaves. Good on ciabatta with roasted tomatoes. Also great in little cheese pasties made with puff pastry, feta and pureed wild garlic/olive oil paste.Another use for me is to make a middle eastern salad with bulgur wheat ( soaked ), finely chopped wild garlic,tomatoes,cucmber, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
The pasties also work well with sauteed nettle and feta !

31 August, 2014

Lesley Aylward – I’m interested to know if the midges steer clear of the wild garlic patches where you live. We have wild garlic everywhere around us (a shady, wooded area in the North Downs in Kent)and I have noticed that it keeps the saw flies(?) away from the solomon’s seal and have also found that by boiling a couple of bulbs (I suppose a few leaves would do just as well) in a saucepan of water for 5 mins, then cooling, straining and spraying it at ground level and above, around the stems of my roses, it seems to greatly reduce black spot. I’m going to try spraying the solution over our beetroot seedlings next year to see whether it deters the slugs!

Doug Johnston
6 February, 2015

Try the leaves in a sandwich with a good quality strong chedder cheese. also use them to wrap a joint of beef for slow roasting the beef stays nice and pink and moist.

10 March, 2015

Helen: what on earth made you think it might work against black spot? Why not try it against cloudy days?? It’s just as likely!
ANDY (2008) did you get your bulbs? Later in the year the damn bulblets are dropping everywhere, if you still need some put a post and we’ll organise to send you a hand full. Should be a garden full within a year or two.
Overall thanks for all the posts. Fascinating, what humans get into!!!

14 April, 2016

I’m surprised you say they’re not as strong as bulb garlic… maybe I was lucky (or unlucky) but the ones I had were mighty powerful and very peppery and hot!

Sparkly Jane
2 May, 2016

Hooray it’s Ransom time again. I’ve been picking leaves and flower heads for years and usually make pesto with it which will keep a while in the fridge. Im going to try growing some bulbs on this year as we have mature deciduous trees in our garden which is their preferred habitat. My favourite picking place is near Chepstow Castle as it’s such a nice place to walk.

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