Ah, spring. Spring means that the lovely, lovely seasonal fruit and vegetable bounty starts. In the German cycle, early spring means that Bärlauch becomes omnipresent on the menu. People go crazy for this stuff! Known in English as ramsons, or bear’s garlic, among other aliases, it is a wild realtive of chives.

I had bought a bunch of leves from the market and put it into Chinese dumplings, soups, and used it as garnishing. I got myself a lovely jar or leek pesto from my favorite pickle and mustard maker.

Although I have been trying to plant them on my balcony, my attempts to grow them have never been sucessful. Apparently the prefer a speciaI kind of soil, in forests, with slightly acidic soil. I never try to gather them in the wild, as I am not exprienced enough to distinguish it from its doppelgänger, the lily of the valley. The season is almost over in Germany, but it should just be starting in the US, after a long and hard winter.

2 thoughts on “Bärlauch

  1. I know they say in Germany to never harvest ramsons yourself, but wouldn’t that be a rather difficult mistake to actually make? Ramsons smell strongly of garlic. Lily of the valley doesn’t smell at all.

    • I agree it would be difficult to mistake the two, but what prompted this entry was an article in the Thüringer Allgemeine on the 20th Anniversary of the Poisons Emergency Hotline in Erfurt, and that they still get calls every year and they still have to put out warnings regarding lily-of-the valley poisoning. Strangely enough, they didn’t release any statistics into how many were there the past year. I dimly remember an article about the same problem in the Englischer Garten in Munich, but the last statistic I could find was in 2008, where there was one immuno-compromised death and six poisonings.

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