Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

What's that smell?

The wild garlic is in full flower at the moment and the woods along my usual cycle route are rank with their smell. In Britain, wild garlic has many names including ramsons, buckrams, devil's garlic, gypsy's onions and stinking Jenny. It seems that brown bears enjoy the bulbs of wild garlic, which accounts for their Latin name Allium ursinum. Sadly, I don't see many brown bears on my cycle rides.

The flowers, leaves and bulbs of wild garlic are all edible and the taste is very similar to that of common garlic Allium sativum, but somewhat milder. Be warned, however, that it is easy to mistake the leaves of garlic for those of Lily of the Valley, which are extremely poisonous.

Wild garlic leaves were once used as cattle fodder, giving their milk a garlic taste; butter made from this milk was once popular in Switzerland and sold at a premium.

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