Wild Leek Festival 2018

We have been hosting the leek festival for about 20 years. Where the word festival might imply huge numbers of people, to us the word meant fun, discovery, foraging, experimenting and introducing people to one of the first spring tonics to appear.

It always begins with whomever wants to pick leeks to take home with them. They come an hour earlier and head out to the woods to harvest.

While they are gone, the other guests arrive with their dishes to share. The potluck will have several dishes prepared with the leek leaves and bulbs. But we aren’t leek snobs so any culinary delight is welcome.

I, mary, prepare the greens John and I picked the day before so everyone can have a taste. They are soooooo yummy. These young greens are sweet and mildly garlicky. I simply chop them up and stir fry them in our big cast iron pan with some butter. Uuuuu la la.

Another powerful spring green is nettles. I make a mild and pleasing tea with the leaves.

Another way we have used leeks is to pickle the bulbs. We give them a few weeks to fatten up first. We have pickled them with a standard vinegar sour or sweet brine.

I have dehydrated the bulbs and used them in soups or crumbled them up to put in breads, ooooor they taste good just nibbled on in their dried state right out of the freezer.

A friend made a pesto with the greens.

Chop up the leaves and some bulbs and put it in quiche.

The bulbs are a great addition to bone broth.

Oh heck, just use them the same way you use garlic from the store.

Have oodles of fun and have yourselves your own “festival”.

Allium tricoccum (commonly known as ramp, ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic) are a North American species of wild onion widespread across eastern Canada and the eastern United States.

Because they are one of the first greens to appear in spring they are considered an important “tonic”.  Their high vitamin content and blood-cleansing properties meant that they were highly prized by the American Indians and early settlers for their nutritional value.

They protect your heart as they are in the same family as garlic and contain the all the same benefits.

They are high in iron, antioxidants, and vitamin C and have saved many a mountaineer from scurvy and other nutritional maladies.