Wild Edible: Ramps AKA Wild Leeks or Wild Garlic

wildleeksWhen I was a kid, I can remember driving along with my grandfather in a fairly wooded area during the spring and pulling to the side of the road for a walk just off the road into the woods.  Here we would find a vast of green “rabbit ears” as he would say covering the ground.  We would crouch down with butter knives and harvest these wild leeks by shoving the knives down along the base to loosen them up and then fill grocery bags with these delicious wild edibles.  They have a taste that I find to be between garlic and onions, but not overpowering.  You wouldn’t ever think of taking a bite of an onion or popping a clove of garlic into your mouth, but these wild leeks are excellent to just munch on (just don’t breathe on anyone afterward).  We would bring the bags back home, cut off the green leaves and leaving the white “bulb” behind for cleaning.  While cleaning them we would dip them in a nearby bowl of kosher salt and eat them raw for a little snack while preparing our bounty for pickling.  Unfortunately with my grandfather’s passing, his recipe has been lost along with his secret locations for plentiful finds but here are some recipes you can try:  5 Best Ways To Preserve and Enjoy Wild Leeks / Ramps

You can’t just go out and find these wild leeks anytime you want, you will only find them (here in New England at least) during the spring months usually around early April & sometimes through early May, around the same time you would harvest fiddle heads and generally in the same type of well shaded forest areas.  Many times you can find their sea of green just over the embankment of the road and not have to go too far to find them.  As with any other wild edible, when you do find a patch, be sure not to remove all or even most of them.  Leave plenty to reseed themselves for many more years to come and enjoy them for a lifetime rather than a large meal.

There is not too much to identifying them when you see a carpet of 2 green leafed plants coming up in early spring before most other plants come up, dig one up and see if it smells like an onion.  As with all wild edibles, read up in depth first, check several sources and even when you think you are sure its edible, only try a small bite and be sure no ill effects come on.

wildleeks02

 

 

Posted in Blog, Wild Edibles, Wilderness Survival and tagged , , , , , , , , .