Sunday, April 18, 2010

Medvehagyma 2010!

Hello all! About this time last year I wrote about a special find in the farmer's market in Mars tér called medvehagyma, bear onions, or ramsons. Well this year I got to go straight to the source and pick them for myself in the national forest near Bakonybél. I went with a group of foragers from Kecskemét who are interested in learning more about gathering food and nutrients from nature.

Is that grass?
Once in Bakonybél we set out to find the park entrance as this was a special day. There were maybe 200 people who came from all parts of Hungary for a chance to pick their own medvehagyma with the blessing of the park service. We hiked something like 8km that afternoon all the while marveling at how nearly every part of the forest floor that didn't have a trail worn into it recently was covered with allium ursinum.

Nope, just bear onions.
The hike was only ever stopped to listen to the park rangers about different plants or animals native to the area or, of course, to pick bear onions, mushrooms, or forest herbs.

They're everywhere!
After the hike we went back to the village where a bear onion feast awaited us. They had infused all known types of Hungarian food with the leafy onion vegetation. We first tried some pálinka that had been infused with medvehagyma, then some soup and salads of the stuff then followed by bread with bear onion pesto or a type of Hungarian quark called túró topped with medvehagyma. There were also pogacsa, little bicsuits, and lángos that had the onions inside. Happily the wine was kept bear onion free! Unfortunately I was so hungry after all of the hiking I didn't even think of taking pictures of all of these different foods until it was all gone.

Droppin' some knowledge.
Finally, after everyone had satiated their hunger and thirst, a woman from the community stood up and spoke about all of the wonderful attributes of medvehagyma along with the other herbs found in the area. They handed out, and I came home with, a sheet of medvehagyma recipes as well as a bag full of the onions that I had collected.
Posted by Picasa

No comments: