To promote sustainability, only pick the leaves of wild leeks
, and leave the bulbs in the ground.
Two varieties of wild leeks
call New York State home.
The wild leek
has globe-like heads on stems that can grow to a metre tall and its leaves are just like the common garden leek, although the stem is not quite so fat.
For those of you unfamiliar with these local native delicacies, ramps are wild leeks
(Allium tricoccum) and morels (Morchella spp.) are soft dwelling wild mushrooms.
Cooked with wild leeks
or cultivated onion and potato, they become a soup called "schav".
A kickoff beer dinner at Park Avenue matched Sam Adams beers with five courses (prosciutto-wrapped jumbo diver sea scallops with roasted fresh figs and balsamic reduction paired with Sam Adams Boston Ale, and roasted tenderloin of beef with foie gras and vanilla sauce, and creamy wild leeks
matched with Sam Adams Cream Stout, for instance.)
It is inspiring to be with her as she identifies wild leeks
and a rare salamander, comes face to face with a bobcat or strings the names of flowers together as if the hills were blooming in poetry: "Down here it's deep in spring, the mountainside's covered with dwarf iris, fire pink, ladyslippers, bloodroot, flowering dogwoods, shadbush, golden ragwort, violets...
RAMPS (WILD LEEKS
)--Ramps have broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and are seen as soon as the snow disappears.
Overharvesting can lead to extirpation, such as what happened to wild leeks
in Quebec in the 1990s.
, called ramps, are related, though they are more strongly flavored than the cultivated leeks you find in the supermarket.
In addition there are plants used for a variety of foods--young dandelion leaves for salads, wild leeks
for pickles, and elderflowers for fritters are only a few of the many choices.