Ramps -- AKA Wild Leeks
or Wild Onions
The Wild Leek,
also known as the Ramp, or common Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum) is our best wild
onion and a source of food and spiciness all year round.
Broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple
or burgundy tints on the lower stems begin arriving in small troops as soon as the snow
disappears. Scallion like bulbs are strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the
soil. Finish off your identification by tearing a leaf or stem and taking a sniff of the
strong and distinctive onion scent of the Leek
Look for soil habitats that are sandy, moist and often on
hillsides and near streams. I almost always find them while searching for Morels so a bad
day of mushroom hunting can often be a good day for leeks!
The leaves are are very tender early in the Spring and the
bulb is edible year round, though they can toughen up in the summer. Don't bother
collecting more then a few handfuls unless you want to blanch and freeze some, because
the wild Leek is very pungent. Use it sparingly and you'll have good luck as the flavor of
both the leaves and the bulb are quite strong.
Here's an outstanding Wild
See also: Fiddleheads!
and: A Forager's Spring Feast