Although I have a couple of patches of Wild Garlic, or Ramsons in my garden come April and May I love to go foraging in our local woods for the leaves,they seem to taste better if I have gathered them from the wild while enjoying a walk with Finn. Ramsons (Alium Ursinum, so called because Brown bears love eating the bulbs when they emerge from hibernation) grow in moist,slightly acidic soil in deciduous woodland and flower between May and June.
All parts of the plant are edible, although it is illegal to dig the bulbs up in the wild and unless the cultivated patch needs restraining it is better value just to harvest the leaves which can be used in salads, soups , boiled as a vegetable or used as a spice.
Wild Garlic is said to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. It eases stomach pain and treats diarrhoea, wind, indigestion and colic. The leaves can be applied externally for rheumatic and arthritic joints. It is also reputed to be beneficial for asthma, bronchitis and emphysema although none of these conditions should be treated without the advice of a doctor.
The juice of the leaves can be used for moth repellent and as a general household disinfectant.The whole plant is supposed to repel insects and also moles.
The plants can be propagated by division at the end of summer when the plant dies down or by seed, which should be sown as soon as they ripen either in situ or in a cold frame. The young plants should be big enough to plant out in three years.
Some recipes for using Wild Garlic can be found on the following link http://uktv.co.uk/food/ingredient/aid/585886.
I tend to use it as I would normal garlic although the flavour is slightly more mild.
There are several ways to preserve Wild Garlic, here are two that I found on http://foodfun.blog.co.uk/.
100grm wild garlic leaves
Set oven to 50 celsius
Spread washed and dried leaves on baking trays without overlapping and place in the oven for about 4 hours until the leaves are dry and brittle.
grind up using a grinder or food processor then add salt.
Store in a jar.
100grms of leaves should give approx 20grm dried.
100ml vegetable oil
Chop leaves and add salt. Leave for 15 min.
Blend wild garlic salt and oil. Decant into preserving jar and top up with oil so no leaves are exposed to air.
The paste can be spooned out for soup or pasta dishes.