Wild garlic, with the scientific name Allium ursinum, also known as ramsons, wood garlic, bear leek or cowleekes, is a plant that is widespread throughout European countries in wild flora, especially in beech forests.
Only the leaves of the plant are used in cuisine. Wild garlic is a medium-small plant with fleshy leaves and small white flowers, which is known to have stronger therapeutic benefits than garlic. Wild garlic is used in salads, soups, pesto and purees, and is especially popular in detox cures.
Wild garlic is a perennial plant that grows 15-30 cm tall, with an elongated bulb and white flowers that bloom from April to May for about two weeks. Wild garlic has long, elliptical, light green leaves with a garlicky aroma that is milder than that of garlic. A single basal leaf develops on each bulb. The underground part of the wild garlic is a perennial bulb, which ensures the survival of the plant from one year to the next.
What are the requirements for the climate, soil and humidity?
Wild garlic is a plant that is not demanding in terms of heat, as it is a species adapted to temperate-continental climates. In terms of light, it is a species that prefers shady places under the canopy of deciduous forests such as beech, hornbeam, hazel and cherry.
It has moderate soil moisture requirements but prefers loamy soils. In terms of soil, wild garlic also has moderate requirements, growing well on medium-dense, fertile soils rich in organic matter formed from the decomposition of forest litter. It also prefers well-drained, loamy soils. It prefers soils with a pH between 6 and 6.7.
How is wild garlic cultivated?
Wild garlic can be grown in the garden or even in a pot or a crate. The seeds are sown in spring, from March to April, or in autumn, from October to November. Plant 15 cm apart and 30 cm between rows. It is best planted in a shady spot at the base of a tree.
As wild garlic is a cold-hardy plant, it is not necessary to dig the bulbs out of the ground in autumn. If grown in pots, avoid water stagnation and water regularly in summer.
The plants form bulbs from the second year of cultivation onwards, so it is through these bulbs that wild garlic plants can be propagated.
How to harvest and store wild garlic?
Wild garlic leaves are harvested from the end of March until they start to turn yellow. Do not cut off all the leaves during harvesting to allow the plant to regenerate. The harvested leaves are eaten fresh, well washed before use.
Only chop the leaves before use to avoid losing a significant amount of essential oils.
Wild garlic can also be preserved. For this, wrap the leaves in some damp material such as a kitchen towel or newspaper, place in bags and then refrigerate. By this method, wild garlic can be kept for up to a week.
Wild garlic is a garlic-like herb that can be grown in the garden or in pots. As it is not a fussy plant, it is easy to grow and care for. It is used in food because of its medicinal properties, being rich in carotenoids, vitamins A and C, B-complex vitamins, mineral salts, calcium, iron, phosphorus, natrium, magnesium, copper and protein.