Leek season..

Yesterday, hubby and I,our son and his two kids ,and our son-in-law and his two kids went digging leeks. I brought home a bushel basket full. If you aren't familiar with leeks ,they are a member of the onion family. In southern appalachia they are known as ramps. They are very pungent! You either like them or you don't. There doesn't seem to be a middle of the road. I cleaned them today, and it took me 7 hrs. It is worth the effort because you can only get them this time of year. Tonight I cooked some with ham, which is delicious! They are also good raw, added to scrambled eggs, made into dip, and pickled. I freeze them in gallon ziploc bags to enjoy throughout the year. In this neck of the woods, there are ham and leek dinners just about every weekend right now. Just about every person you see asks "Did ya get your leeks yet?". If you traveled through here this time of year, you would certainly smell leeks!!!These are nothing like leeks seen in markets. To me, those have no taste. The wild ones are the only ones!

Re: Leek season..

Can't do leeks, they are as you said part of the onion family, wreak havoc on my intestines!  We dug up to ferns this weekend, the children found a few fiddleheads, never would have thought to eat them - they went in the yard waste!  

Re: Leek season..

Like mushrooms (only not quite so bad maybe) make sure you have edible ones!

"Fiddleheads are the young coiled fronds of an ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) ... While the fronds of all ferns go through the fiddlehead stage of development, ostrich fern fiddleheads are one of the few that are tasty and safe to eat (many others are mildly or not so mildly toxic, and unfurled fronds of all ferns are inedible). Fortunately, ostrich fern grows just about anywhere northern... in the woods and swamps - and in most gardens if their owners are into ferns at all."  http://www.offthebone.net/?p=40

Site with some recipes: http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4198.htm

And also: "The trick to enjoying fiddleheads is to clean them properly. If you don't get the brown crepe like covering off the fern they will be so bitter as to be inedible."

Enjoy! Our church used to serve them in a vinegar-y salad at the spring church dinners.  Haven't had any since I moved from New England but I sure looked forward to them each year.

Re: Leek season..

I love wild leeks, here in northern new york they grow wild all over the place this time of year, I love them with scrambled eggs, fried up with hamburgers, my dad likes em raw, and my mom makes the most awesome leek soup and pickled leeks, if you have never had them give them a try, they are worth all the work of washing the sand and grit out of them.......yummmy

Re: Leek season..

Aren't  ramps and leeks different plants - related but different.  The cultivated leeks in the grocery have a mild onion taste --, I've heard that ramps have more of a strong garlic flavor.   Anyone have experience with both?

Re: Leek season..

They did a segment (maybe a year or two ago) on Martha about wild/seasonal delicacies, and I remember her referring to ramps as a "wild leek".  I have had neither, but I intend to try leeks someday!

Another she talked about was fiddlehead ferns....  I guess it is a wild fern that the top part is eaten while it is still wound up tight (before it unfurls).  Has anyone here ever tried a fiddlehead?

Re: Leek season..

Yes I have done fiddleheads! My son-in-law loves them! They are indeed the newly growing fern, and while still curled, look like the head of a fiddle. I don't get these as often, as they are a pain to dig! My son-in-law deep fried some and they were EXCELLENT!! I would venture a guess that they would be very popular in a gourmet restaurant!

Re: Leek season..

What we call leeks here in northern appalachia are actually ramps as the southerners call them .I don't know why the different names in the different locations. Yes they are strong! It is sort of a cross between onions and garlic. The cultivated leeks are totally different than these. Again,. I don't understand the name"leek" in the wild version. It is just what everyone calls them. Gotta love us rednecks!! I froze 8 gallon bags, 2 qt. bags, made 3 pts of dip, and saved a gal. fresh to eat. I intend to dig some more in abt a week,when they're bigger, to pickle.My house smells like leeks!!!!

Re: Leek season..

Barb, I'd love to try wild leeks. I've made Potato Leek soup and it is great. I bet the wild ones would be even better in it.

Re: Leek season..

I've never tried leeks.  Not sure if I would like them or not, but I guess I'll never know if I don't try them!

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