Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Ooh, look what I found in the woods! At first I thought these soft green leaves were Lily-of-the-Valley, but a closer inspection (and a sniff and a taste) revealed they were another member of the lily family: Allium tricoccum, or as they're commonly called Down South, Ramps. Also called Wild Leeks.
I've read that Ramps are all the rage among foodies right now, so I'm going to keep their location secret, for fear of extirpation. I did dig a few just to see what the fuss is about, and I must say, they are delicious. Trimmed of roots and dirt, coarsely chopped (leaves and all), sauteed quickly in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, they really were yummy. Mild onion taste, the leaves almost sweet. I know that they figure prominently in Southern folklore, but I had no idea they grew around here. I probably passed them over before, thinking they were something else. Later in the summer, after the leaves have disappeared, they will bear an umbel of small white flowers on a single stalk. I think I will try to collect their seeds and grow some in my own woodsy backyard. Wish me luck.