Wild Leeks aka Ramps
Wild Leeks can be found from the east coast of the United States west to Missouri and Minnesota, as far south as South Carolina and Tennessee and as far north as Canada. They like cool, semi-shady areas with damp, rich soil high in organic matter.
All parts of the plant are edible, from the leaf to the onion-like bulb growing just beneath the surface of the soil. Ramps can be eaten raw or cooked. Although Wild Leeks are edible year round, they are best in the spring before the leaves start dying back. The bulb can be frozen (chopped or whole) then used
in cooking throughout the winter. The older the plant is that you are harvesting, the tougher and more pungent the flavor will be. The leaves are milder in flavor than the bulbs and can be frozen in an air-tight container after air-drying them for a few hours.
Warning: The aromatic pungency of raw wild leeks on your breath may ensure privacy unless your friends eat them in self-defense. On the other hand, if you want to clear out a room . . .
Growing stages of Wild Leeks:
By learning to recognize the growing stages of Wild Leeks you will be able to locate and harvest the bulb year round, as long as it doesn’t get buried too deeply in the snow.
New leaves emerge before the leaves on the trees develop in early spring.
When the ramps leaves begin to die back, a flower stalk emerges.
The flower will then bloom followed by maturing seeds on top of a leafless stalk.
When ready, the seeds fall to the ground to germinate. (Long live the leek!)
They can be fried (chopped or sliced), sautéed, baked, stewed - just use your imagination. The flavor of Wild Leeks is often compared to onions, garlic and shallots, however, they do have a distinctive flavor all their own. People tend to use them as a
substitute to these other bulbs but some recipes are greatly enhanced by adding them rather than using them as a substitute.
Wild Leeks/Ramps have been highly sought after since the days of yore when the winter’s stores had run low and people were looking for fresh greens and vegetables in the spring. They are high in Vitamins C and A (as well as other healthful minerals) and have the same cholesterol reducing capacity found in Garlic and other members of this family.
Strip the fine onion skin down over the roots and cut or break it off with the root. Replant the root to ensure the plant returns next year.
Take them home, wash them, and prepare them however you like. Yummmmm!
Wild Leeks, or 'Ramps' as they are called in some regions of the country, are just one of many survival foods found in the wilderness.
We at wildernessfolk.com do not make any warranties as to the safety of consuming any wild foods and accept no liability or responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of any wild plants. If you have any doubts whatsoever about the identification of any wild plant or mushroom, don't eat it!