5 Best Ways To Love, Preserve and Enjoy Wild Leeks (aka Ramps)

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Best ways wild leeks

The season came late this year, but I’m not complaining. Over the May long weekend, I ventured up North to collect my annual harvest of Wild Leeks from an area so dense and abundant, you literally look through the trees to see a forest floor green with leeks, interspersed only with trilliums.

Check out that green power!
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Given that leeks are being wildly unwilded by over-harvesting, best be responsible. If the area you find them is sparse, take only the leaves. In areas that are more dense, choose a few clusters to harvest from the bulb from across a wide stretch of area. Once these babies are plucked from the roots, they don’t grow back on their own.

Because these short lived treasures are so treasured, after much research and experimentation, I have for you, my top 5 best ways to love, preserve and enjoy wild leeks.

Wild leeks can be used raw or cooked- just cut off the spindley rooty things, give them a little wash and they are ready.

The first thing I did this year was separate the bulbs from the leaves, as each is best used in different ways.

5 Best Ways To Preserve and Enjoy Wild Leeks / Ramps


 

1. Pickled Wild Leeks

I found it tough to find a picking method that didn’t require loads of sugar to offset the alkaline nature of the bulbs. My dear friend Frank Giglio offered me the tip to pickle in cider vinegar. Easy.

  • Separate the bulbs from the leaves.
  • Wash carefully, trimming off the scraggly roots.
  • Add to a sterile mason jar.
  • Fill to covered with raw/unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
  • Use a piece of parchment to separate the plastic in your jar’s lid from the vinegar.
  • Store in a cool dark place for 4-6 months (I am for sure opening mine early!). Shake twice daily.

For more on preserving using pickling, see this post on pickles and this one on sauerkraut.


Wild leeks dried2. Dehydrate The Leaves

  • With the bulbs removed and the leaves cleaned thoroughly.
  • Lay them out in a dehydrator and dry them out on low for 10 hours.

Dried wild leek powder

  • Place the dried leeks in your food processor, high speed blender or spice/coffee grinder and grind down to a powder.
  • Store in an airtight glass container.

This is a great way to be able to sprinkle on your salads, use in pizza sauce, and add a dash to anything and everything you’re making.


 

3. Pesto Power

A great wild leek pesto is my go-to favourite every year! I make this stuff and then usually proceed to eat it right off the spoon. It is so great and super fast to make.

Wild Leek Lemon Pesto

1 Tbsp + 1/4 cup  olive oil
One giant handful of wild leeks (leaves of about 20)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup stinging nettles (optional)
sea salt to taste

  • Coarsely chop wild leeks and sauté in olive oil for about five minutes, until leeks are darker green and stems are soft.
  • Transfer to blender or food process and mix with additional olive oil, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, stinging nettles and sea salt.
  • Allow to cool and serve. Eat on everything.

Tip: This is a great way to preserve your pesto. Freeze in parchment lined muffin tins and then transfer to freezer container for easy to use single servings. Though I doubt you’ll have any left over to freeze.

More pesto options:


 

4. Wild Leek Soup

So many wild leek soups use white potatoes and often cream. I created a recipe that uses neither!

This is my favourite wild leek soup, and for the one pictured above, I also added a heaping handful of stinging nettles.

Get the recipe for Creamy Wild Leek Soup


 

5. Wild Leek Ghee/Butter

I know. The label says Wid Leek Butter. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. I do consume organic butter, raw whenever I can get it, but prefer to do so as homemade ghee where the dairy solids have been removed. Ghee is a very healing food for the body and oh so delicious! If consuming dairy in any form isn’t your thing, you can totally do this with coconut oil.

  • Soften butter/coconut oil to room temperature.
  • Finely chop your wild leek leaves, about 1/3 for every cup of butter/oil.
  • Mix together.
  • Store in the fridge or if ghee or coconut oil you can leave out at room temp.

Hit up your farmers market. This is the time, at least if you live in Canada and the Northern US- to start really enjoying the seasonal gifts. If you need a gentle reminder of why eating seasonally and local rocks- here you go. 

What are you favourite ways to love, preserve and enjoy wild leeks?

 

2 Responses to “5 Best Ways To Love, Preserve and Enjoy Wild Leeks (aka Ramps)”

  1. Amanda

    #

    Oh hello ramp butter! I found a bottle of wild leek vinegar in Michigan last week, it’s incredible on salad!

    Reply
    • Meghan Telpner

      #

      Yum!

      Reply

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