Spring foraging

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One of my favorite parts of the changing seasons is when spring comes around after the snow melt and life begins to grow again on the homestead.

Springtime means free food to us folk who enjoy foraging and with the right amount of patience, determination and sheer luck, one can really supply themselves with a large amount of good crops for the root cellar.

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This year our Spring foraging led us 1.5 hours North of the homestead to a quaint little town called South Colton, NY where we heard we might find loads of wild ramps.

When we made the trek North, we stopped in at the local mini mart and asked the cashier if he knew where we might be able to find ramps.  He directed us a few miles up the road to a local home where we could knock on the door and ask permission to forage on their land. He knew the area was littered with wild ramps.

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A petite, dirty blonde woman in her mid 40’s answered the door and smiled as we asked if we could pick some yummy ramps.  She informed us that her family usually forage their own wild ramps on their back acreage and so the front acreage was free for the taking.  She kindly granted us lifetime rights to come back every year and pick without asking.  We hit the jackpot! I could not have been more happy in that moment.

It was a rainy, damp, gray afternoon by the time we got to foraging but we were determined to make the trip count.  3 hours later we had filled the trunk of the car with garlicky, fragrant goodness.  Mission accomplished!

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But…..when it comes to foraging, picking is the easy part. The real work begins when you get home and go about cleaning, trimming, processing and canning all the bounty. This year I ended up with 10 pints of pickled wild ramps and 10 half-pints of wild ramp pesto.

We let the pickled wild ramps sit for 30 days before cracking open the first jar and having a taste.  Some websites say that you can eat them as soon as 1 week after canning, but we figured the longer we let them sit, the better. The pickled version turned out great, but the real star of the show this year was the wild ramp pesto.  We’ve already eaten 3 half-pints of pesto and created 2 new dinner recipes.  You can find the recipe for our pickled wild leaks here and the wild ramp pesto recipe is coming soon. Check back for updates.

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If I was to count up all the hours it took to complete my wild ramp foraging mission from start to finished product, I’d say it was about 12 hours of work and COMPLETELY WORTH IT.  We are already planning on bringing extra helping hands next year for our foraging mission and hoping to end up with double the yummy product.

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Happy Foraging!

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