Yesterday was a little chilly, but I found it to be great weather for scaling my surrounding hills and ravines in search of Ramps and Fiddleheads, two forager’s favorites of early spring. There was a bit of a breeze too, making the greens of the ramps to sway as if they were waving at me to say “Hey you, over here”, and I could follow these wavers from one patch to another. I only had a few hours for hiking that day, and I came out of the woods with a grocery bag full of these, thanks, in part, to the breeze.
For those who are not familiar with Ramps, they are a wild leek with a flavor like an onion, but with a hint of garlic and black pepper. They have a very short season in the spring. Around here, the season is usually from mid-April to mid-May. This season overlaps the usual season for Morel mushrooms, and I find that these two go together perfectly. One of my favorite Morel dishes is just Morels and Ramps sautéed in butter, yum.
The trail of ramps that I found eventually led me to another spring delicacy, Fiddleheads. These are the young rolled up shoots of a fern. The fern I was looking for was the Ostrich Fern, these fiddleheads are the ones preferred by gourmet chefs for their superior flavor. Unfortunately, I found these just before heading back to pick the kids up from school. I quickly gathered a few handfuls and planned to return the following day.
Soon I will begin posting some useful tips for finding, collecting, storing, and preparing these springtime edibles.