Its name is linked to a particular legend that says the Teuton knights witnessed that bears often ate Ramsons just after they woke up from winter hibernation to regain their strength. But the fact that ramsons is healthy and delicious is not a myth and it’s getting more popular every year in Hungary.
It’s not protected but we take care of it
Ramsons is a bulbous, perennial herbaceous monocot also known as wild garlic or bear’s garlic. It prefers damp climates and can mostly be found in soil rich in organic matter such as deciduous forests, ravines and gallery forests that are close to riverbeds. The 25 to 40 centimeter long plants early white flower is favored by bees. It’s not protected but from 2009 people are only allowed pick only the necessary amount for themselves. A person can take home a maximum of 2 kilos but there have been instances where picking of the plant was forbidden in the Mecsek because people trampled various other protected plants while hunting for Ramsons. Those with a poor sense of smell should take care while picking Ramsons because it can be easily mixed up with lily of the valley, a poisonous plant that has similar leafs but the lacks the garlic aroma that Ramsons has. For those of you who want to grow it at home it should be planted in orchards or under bushes like raspberry or currant but be warned, harvesting it from these last locations is no walk in the park. But more and more people say it’s worth it!
Without side effects
The advocates of healthy eating are big supporters of Ramsons mostly because of its cleansing effect on the stomach, intestine, and blood. It also has a good effect on the cardiovascular system and helps lower cholesterol. It’s rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E and F. The leafs contain high amounts of minerals, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, cobalt, zinc and selenium. According to tradition, it’s good against fungal infections is used as a bandage or tincture. Due to its bactericidal and anti-lead effects, it’s very popular among people who partake in the so-called spring cleansing diets.
Ramsons can also be widely used in gastronomy. It can be made into pesto, garnish or a salad with vinegar or oil dressing. When diced it can be used to flavor soups, stews, meatloafs or savory pastries. They also make honey out of it that has a spicy-sweet flavor with a nice aroma and a piquant flavor profile and slight green color but it’s very rare. It can also be eaten raw. In addition to bears, goats love it too and the cheese that’s made from their milk is exceptional. It’s best eaten fresh but it can be preserved fairly easily if you were unable to pick some in the mountains or buy any at the market. It retains its aroma and flavor if frozen but it loses some of its strong fragrance if dried and ground. A fresh batch of 10 to 15 decagrams can cost you about a dollar and a packet of dried leafs cost about 50 cents more in grocery stores.
The largest concentrations of Ramsons in Hungary
- Égett-szállás, Orfű
- Szakadás, Orfű
- Száraz-kút-resting place, Mecsek
- Éger-völgy, Mecsek
- Muskátli restaurant, Orfű
The Ramsons festival is being held for the eleventh time in Orfű on the 8th and 9th of April
Ramsons House in Orfű
The settlement in Baranya county is also known as the capital of Ramsons and has about 800 inhabitants. They just opened their ecotourism center last year and it’s called Ramsons House. The house was designed by the Ybl award winning architect Margit Pelényi and it’s a link between the settlements recreational area and nature. Its interactive exhibit shows the eco-values and cultural treasures of the four lakes located in the Western Mecsek region. The view from the roof terrace of the house in breathtaking.