As much as my appetite and senses are currently tuned to cheese and other fermented/cured products of the cheese shop, this time of year (spring/summer) my diet is relieved to squeeze in a few green things. Eating locally is rewarding yet not always affordable. Since I have never claimed or intend on becoming a hunter or farmer (though I’ll carry the upmost respect) foraging is a small means of sustaining myself. Plus, it’s down-right-fun to find ‘needle-in-a-haystack’ spots, keeping them secret to let my ‘forager’ ego grow.
Ramps tend to be the first sign of the unveiling foraging season. They are bountiful enough that no secrets need to be kept except perhaps the recipes that they are deemed for. There are grilled ramps, sautéed ramps, pickled ramps, ramp soup, ramp pesto, and an infinite imagination of applications and techniques.
My interest transformed to a hobby, passion have you, when a local German chef took me under his wing and revealed some of his knowledge of wild edibles in our woods. Morels -ahh the handsome sought after honey comb-like mushrooms that… I can never find! Chanterelles -the golden flower-looking mushrooms that are eye candy against their darker habitat. My German friend told me that if I were to ever tell anyone of the few spots he told me or if I were to venture out to them without him, he’d poison me. His secret is safe.
Now a days, I take every opportunity to hang up my apron and grab my pocketknife and wicker basket to skip and whistle through the woods in search of a new secret spot and another story.
I strongly caution you to first read about or go on an expert’s word on what to eat and what not to especially in the case of mushrooms. If you don’t know what something is best advice is to look but not touch.
Please share what things you forage or have foraged in the past. I myself have only tapped the surface of wild edibles. As you may have gathered by a previous post or two, I don’t really abide by recipes but ill try to lay down a rough one for those interested.. I’m not letting you in on my spots though!
I’m off to the woods!