Spring and Picking Ramps

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I have a different favourite season for every place I’ve lived. In Western Slovakia, it’s spring. Winter here tends towards dreary grey rather than winter wonderland, and spring brings with it positivity and hope.

In spring, the forests and grassy areas are full of wild flowers. There are so many new to me, I haven’t yet learned most of their names. Ramps also grows here, or actually it’s European cousin, bear garlic. Carpets of lush green garlicky ramps – just look:

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Bear garlic is edible and the leaves taste like raw garlic. Apparently it looks similar to Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous, so make sure you know the difference before you go harvesting. It’s fast to pick and easy to use (no peeling!). It’s also a blood cleanser and sure to cure a variety of ills, according to Maria Treben.

Here are 12+ recipes to use ramps, including the amazingly delicious Nettle Ramp Pesto.

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We hit upon a perfect sunny morning to go ramp picking. One twin was fascinated by every flying creature that buzzed past; the other stepped straight into the creek within two minutes. I darted around taking pictures while the older girls were put to work picking leaves. A shopping bag was soon filled up. We lolled in the field, enjoying snacks and soaking up the sun. Simple pleasures such as these are the ones I hope my children remember fondly when they are older.

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Has spring come yet to where you live? What is your favourite season?

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