Each Spring I enjoy collecting these great wild edibles and assembling a forager's feast and a celebration of spring. They all usually occur in the same places from year to year, so it's also an opportunity to visit and old haunt, and a favorite fishing hole. I have had the opportunity to assemble this celebratory meal on many occasions with slight variations that I'll indicate afterwards.
Appetizer: Fresh morels (yellow, black or semi-libera) fried in butter till just done.
The main course: Brook Trout, fried in butter or grilled. I stuff the body cavity with wild leek leaves, salt, pepper and a dab of butter before cooking. Add a few of last season's venison steaks to the mix, flash fried with some sliced leeks and I call that Adirondack Surf & Turf.
Vegetable: Fiddle heads sauteed with butter and fresh chives, purple flowers and all.
Mashed potatoes with wild leeks and garlic
Served up with a Saranac Pale Ale (or a nice home brewed brown ale)
Now that's living!
Another nice spring vegetable is the ubiquitous dandelion. PIck dandelions early in the season before flowers form -- and before they turn really bitter. To some people they're bitter anyway, but some people like that (like me). Try using dandelions in any recipe for "beans and greens." My simple method is to wash the dandelion greens is several washes of water. Cook some garlic in olive oil til it starts to brown, throw in the dandelion greens, half a cup of water and a bullion cube. Cook till the dandelions are soft and then toss in a can of cannelli or red beans. Serve alone or over pasta - elbows or penne are nice.
- Roy Reehil
PS - I spend a lot of time outdoors, so why not come home with an armfull of free natural food that the rest of the world ignores? A collapsible fishing pole can add a fish to the fire too.
I knew an old timer who grew or collected much of the food he ate. Besides doing it because he was a depresion-era skin-flint, he used to say something like this:
"The plants I grow in my garden or collect in the woods have to fight the same vermin, [bacteria, molds, viruses] that I do -- the ones that live around here. They've developed immunities over hunderds of years to survive, so when I eat them I get the benefit of that evolution. When you buy fancy vegetables from Florida, Mexico or South America, what good does that food do you? Might even do you some harm."
It's an interesting thought that has stuck in my mind long beyond his passing.
Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs
By SteamyKitchen / 16 comments ?
(Step by step photos on how to pickle wild leek bulbs or ramp bulbs)
Asian Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulb Recipe
Picture 1 of 11
wild leek bulbs-- PICKLED! yowza - that's spicy
It’s the end of wild leek or ramp season, and what’s left in some markets are just the bulbs, which last much longer than the entire thing. For these strays, it’s best to pickle and preserve so that you’ll get to enjoy them all year long.
I just learned that in the South, where they are harvested in April, they are called RAMPS. In the north, they are called WILD LEEKS. Why the difference? I really don’t know….readers?
If you’ve never had wild leeks/ramps before, here’s what they look like fresh – a photo I found at a great website called The Forager Press:
From what I understand, Wild Leeks have a bigger bulb and more pungent flavor. Leeks have skinnier, smaller bulbs (like that photo right above)
Wild Leeks or Ramps are basically a wild onion – and the taste is like if you smashed an onion with a clove of garlic. Yes, quite pungent. Eat too many of these babies…and let’s just say…don’t plan on any nookie tonight.
If you’re lucky to find ramp bulbs or wild leek bulbs, PICKLE THEM!! I seared for a perfect Asian-style recipe and BINGO – found it on Chow. And get this…the recipe originates from picklin’ god himself, David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar.
Yeah, recipe is a definite keeper – FANTASTIC.
Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs Recipe
recipe adapted from David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar via Chow. You can find wild leek/ramp bulbs from Earthy.com. Hurry – only a few more days left before they run out!
This is a perfect pair-with-beer or pair-with-sake type of little pickle. Just make sure your girlfriend or boyfriend is eating the same thing as you. If you are using whole ramps (bulb and leaves, you can use the entire thing, unless the leaves are old…then in that case just use the bulbs and trim off the leaves)
1 pound ramps bulbs (or whole ramps), trimmed and washed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tablespoon table salt)
1 tablespoon Japanese seven spice (Shichimi Togarashi)
1 1/2 teaspoons Korean crushed red pepper (kochukaru) or other mild crushed chili pepper
1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Briefly blanch the ramp bulbs in salted water. If using entire young ramp (small bulb + leaves) no need to blanch. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine all ingredient except the ramp bulbs in the saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the ramp bulbs to the brine mixture in the pan. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to a smaller nonreactive container, cover tightly, and place in the refrigerator overnight. You could also can the pickled ramp bulbs.
Excerpts of this Book, Other Books, More Plants, Buy Other Items, HomeTHE WILD VEGAN COOKBOOK
Harvard Common Press, Boston, 2002, 2010
Buy this book, signed to you by the author:
Read excerpts of this book.
Here's a unique guide to gourmet vegan cooking you can use with or without wild ingredients. It includes close to 600 original recipes, some of which you'll find published on this site.
You'll learn the best ways to prepare dozens of delicious, common edible wild plants, how to use other natural ingredients and seasonings to enhance any dish you prepare, and ways to substitute healthful ingredients for unhealthful ones.
You'll get to make many vegan cheese substitutes that taste way better than the fake cheeses they sell in health food stores, and you'll get to use them in healthful, traditional-style recipes.
You'll be able to enjoy many varieties of easy-to-make dairy-free, sugar-free ice cream, much tastier than the most expensive commercial gourmet brands.
You'll even find out how to make an omelet without breaking an egg!
"Wildman" Steve Brill's research into natural food preparation first led him to begin studying wild foods in the early 1980s. Enjoy the fruits (and berries, nuts, seeds, roots, herbs, greens, mushrooms, and seaweeds) of his experiments in this entertaining, practical field guide to natural foods preparation.
Buy this book, signed to you by the author:
Excerpts of this Book, Other Books, More Plants, Buy Other Items, Home, Back to the Top
Ramps (Wild Leeks) Soup
By Molly53 on April 12, 2006
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
About This Recipe
"The flavor of ramps is similar to onions with a touch of garlic, particularly like scallions, but wilder. They can be used just like scallions. In Appalachia, they are so popular that festivals are dedicated to them. They've been a staple of Southern Appalachian cooking for generations. Scallions (white part only) may be substituted for the ramps. Cooking time is approximate."
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
1 cup cooked ham, diced
2 teaspoons salt
? teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups fresh ramps, cleaned and minced ( both white and green parts)
butter, for garnish
Peel and dice potatoes and onions; place in large saucepan and add water, diced ham, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are just done.
Add ramps; cook five minutes more.
Mix the flour into the milk; stir briskly to make a smooth emulsion.
Add to soup; bring just to boiling point.
Serve hot with a small pat of butter in each bowl to garnish.
Ramps and Wild Leeks
Recipes using ramps and wild leeks.
Scrambled Eggs With Ramps - Ramps and Eggs
Ramps recipe scrambled with eggs in bacon drippings. Old-time recipe with ramps and eggs.
Ramps with Bacon and Hard-Cooked Eggs
Ramps or wild leeks are cooked with bacon and hard cooked eggs. A tasty old-fashioned dish using ramps or wild leeks.
Fried Ramps & Potatoes
RAmps, potatoes and eggs.
Fried Ramps with Potatoes
Recipes saved from the forum. Fried ramps and potatoes with eggs.
Potato & Wild Leek Soup
This soup is made with ramps, red potatoes, heavy cream and chicken broth.
This recipe includes ground beef, ramps, tomato soup and eggs.
Ramps with Eggs
This is a traditional recipe for scrambled eggs with ramps.
Ramps with Hard-Cooked Eggs
Ingredients include hard-cooked eggs, bacon and ramps.
Scalloped Potatoes with Ramps
An easy recipe, this casserole is topped with shredded cheese.