Friday, May 22, 2009

Gathering from Nature

This is the best time of year to begin gathering nature's bounty. We have been busy digging wild leeks, also known as wild onions or ramps. They seem to grow best in open hardwoods and have reached their peak when the trilliums are in bloom and just before they send up their own blossom spike. We have had enough rain this spring that they are a nice size this year (sometimes they are about half as big) but you can see from the picture below that in the onion world they are not huge.

Flavor wise they seem to me a cross between an onion and garlic. They can be eaten raw or cooked, I've even sauteed the whole thing(bulb with leaves attached) but that can have the same effect as beans on some systems!
My favorite way to use them is remove the outer layer of dirt and root, then slice and dehydrate. They make the cutest little "onion O's" and store well in a plastic bag for a year or two (if they last that long) I use them in soups, stews, sloppy joes, omelets, as whole rings or crushed in my fingers. My daughter already has her request in for her share.
Enjoy the woods, but please remember to harvest responsibly. Leeks have roots but are also attached to (I think) a rhizome which connects groups of them and helps them spread. To not disrupt their system, I use a garden fork to loosen the clump, then hand pull several of the bulbs, leaving a few to nourish the mother root, firming the loosened dirt back in place with my foot. As I write this, I'm thinking I really make work out of the process, but I've been picking this way for years and not disturbing the other wild flowers around them.


  1. Great post. I've never done that before....might have to give it a try. They look wonderful and I'm sure taste great!

  2. wow! they look awesome~! i bet they taste great!! good to know about the root systems!!

  3. Hi,

    Nice to "meet" you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    My little helper (on my post) only helps me keep my sanity. Have a wonderful weekend

  4. I haven't had leeks in years. Thanks for reminding me of them.