Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring Foraging - Wild Leeks

Wild leeks (Allium tricoccum), also known as ramps, grow in clumps in rich, moist, neutral soil in hardwood forests.   They appear in early spring and die off in early summer.     They are closely related to scallions and are members of the onion family.    They grow in clusters from one single bulb.  They are slow to reproduce and some clumps can take many years to form.     They have a very distinct onion smell.  If they don't smell like onions they are not wild leeks.

When foraging for leeks, because they are slow to reproduce  it's important not to take the whole clump at once.   Pick sparingly from each clump.  Because of over picking wild leeks are becoming rare and in some parts it's not permitted to pick.

Both leaves and bulbs are edible and can be used the sames way as you use regular onions, leeks and scallions.  They can be used in soups, stews, sandwiches and salads.   They can be preserved, ie frozen, dried or pickled.

To dry, clean and cut into half inch lengths.  You can use a dehydrator or place on a cookie sheet in a 170 F oven for a few hours or until they are dry.   You can store in plastic bags or clean dry jars.  Dried leeks are best used in stews and soups. 


  1. I just got mine today before the storm.

  2. They look wonderful, Janet. Wish I could locate a nice clump of them!


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