Would you dare to share your snack with a bear?

Only the hearty try this pungent delight from the Caucasus region!

Only the hearty try this pungent delight from the Caucasus region!

Legion Media/Legion Media
If you live in a mountainous region there aren’t many natural delights to treat yourself to. Life is severe and so are the people, who learn to use their environment to the fullest. They even make delicious dishes from wild plants, such as bear’s garlic!

Please note: bear’s garlic is listed as endangered in some regions, and gathering it might be illegal. So, check with the local government before buying or picking it!

When spring comes to mountainous areas of Russia, such as the Caucasian region, the slopes are green with bear’s garlic. By the way, it has many names: wild leek, wood garlic, buckrams, and ramson. But aren’t bears indigenous Russian inhabitants? Well, we decided that bear’s garlic suits it more.

If you are a fan of fresh organic food, then pay special attention to recipes with bear’s garlic. This acerbic plant is a gold mine of vitamins. Much like garlic itself, it increases your appetite, fights vitamin deficiencies and scurvy. Our ancestors even used it as protection against the plague and cholera, but today it’s recommend as a remedy for hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders and insomnia. By the way, bear’s garlic contains more vitamin C than any citrus fruit!

First, bear’s garlic sprouts appear in the end of February or beginning of March, and the season ends in early June when the sprouts close to seed and is no longer edible.

Allium ursinum (bear's garlic).

Locals in the Caucasus region have been familiar with bear’s garlic since time immemorial - their ancestors used to eat it or use as a remedy. They usually boil or can it, primarily using the sprouts. Far Easterners, however, prefer leaves with gentle garlic flavor.

The sharp taste of bear’s garlic gives a new flavor to familiar dishes such as vegetable salads. You can also add oil and nuts to the sprouts, or mix them with sour cream for buttering bread.

Recipes with bear’s garlic are usually easy to make, but this one is very easy. By the way, it’s a perfect side dish to go with Russian vodka!

But be careful: people with gastrointestinal diseases or those who are pregnant should avoid eating bear’s garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo bear’s garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • salt to taste

How to make it:

  1. Put bear’s garlic into boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Strain the water through a colander.
  2. Put into a deep bowl, and add tomato paste, sunflower oil and salt; then mix.

It’s best accompanied with oven-fresh bread.

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