Ramps are like a wild garlic onion combination “If you’ve ever walked through the farmers’ market this time of year, you know it’s spring from the smell of ramps wafting through the air. Ramps (allium tricoccum) have a very unique, or shall we say pungent, aroma that’s sort of like a cross between garlic and leeks. Some people confuse ramps for leeks, but in fact they can be called wild leeks or spring leeks They can be used in a number of recipes, cooked or raw, just like onions.” They are all over the place in Millbrook and as far as I know everywhere in the Hudson Valley.

They are wild unlike kale which seems to be the salad favorite of the year, kale kale the gangs all here.

There is a woman in New Jersey who is an expert in all sorts of wild edibles and she travels around collecting for the fancy New York restaurants. Among her favorites are:

Shag Bark hickory bark from which she makes ice cream or at least flavors it
Garlic mustard (maybe used as a breath freshener)
Dandelion flowers which can be fried
Onion Grass, snipped and put in scrambled eggs
Spruce needles which can be put on salad

But here is the best, Japanese Barberry jelly. Barberry is the most invasive ugly thorny and unattractive plant in the Hudson Valley. It was brought in and planted because deer don’t eat it and even goats won’t touch it unless starving to death. You cant get rid of it unless you pull it out by the roots and burn it. It is now taking over the forest areas all over the county. I can’t imagine anything made from it that anyone would want to eat.

Here is a picture of the expert Ms. Wong a former lawyer now forager happily holding some shag bark hickory.

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