Walking through the woods in early Spring, can be a fragrant experience with spicy notes of Ramson.
Ramson (Allium Ursinum) is a bulbous plant growing wild in many places throughout the country. Ramson origins from Norway or Germany but has been part of Danish vegetation since ancient times. At the forest floor, especially, at coastal deciduous forests in the eastern part of Denmark, the herb has blazing growing conditions. It is often found in shady, nutritious soil. And when found in larger stocks, almost all other forest floor vegetation has been suppressed from this stronger bulbous plant species.
Ramson as a plant is stuffed with healthy C-vitamins and the spicy taste ranges between garlic, onion and chives, which all three of them are popular in Denmark as herbs slash vegetables consumed on a daily basis. The fact is that In Denmark you are allowed to harvest fruit, berries and other crops growing wild in public areas when harvested only for modest personal use. Like blackberries growing wild in the forest or mushrooms growing from the forest floor. So ramson as a crop to harvest freely in the woods could be a popular flavouring food enjoyed heavily in the season – As a super food. It even grows like weed in the right conditions. But it is not gathered by many. Not at all. Ramson is a type of herb used only by the few. Those with a strong interest for Nordic Nature. And those with a gastronomic perspective on ramson as a wild ancient herb. Maybe, because of the resemblance to the other bulbous flower plant lily of the Valley. This plant is poisonous and when eaten just in smaller doses it is in fact dangerous. Luckily, the heavy smell of onion/garlic makes it easy to tell the difference between the species. Nevertheless, it is important to note that never to harvest ramson or other wild crops if one is close to the slightest doubt.
Ramson is a multiannual herb and the flourish time is from April to May. The stalks and leaves are harvested at their best in March before flowering.
3 handfuls of ramson leaves
1 handful of hazelnuts (toasted in oven for 10 minutes and then rub off skin)
2 handfuls of chopped pointed cabbage
5 spoons cold pressed rapeseed oil
3 spoons crystal cheese
1 spoon apple vinegar
1 spoon lemon
Blend all ingredients and season with salt
Toasted pumpkin seeds for serving
The world´s widest publication of flora studies is the Flora Danica. It was published from 1763-1883 and consist of the most exquisite hand drawn illustrations crafted through two centuries. The masterpiece in total, consist of 3.240 boards of illustration and it was distributed in 18 volumes over this span of time. In these modern times you can dive into a more manageable edition of Flora Danica with only 253 boards of illustration distributed on 607 pages, masterfully told and curated by Henning Knudsen. Publishing by Lindhardt & Ringhof.
Natural History Museum of Denmark
Lindhardt & Ringhof
Photography & Words by Dea Simonsen