What You Can See on May 12
Submitted by Ted Williams on Fri, 05/12/2006 - 08:31.
From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. Delicious Breath Unfresheners As mountain folk have long known, wild leeks are good for warding off rheum, ague, chilblains, collywobbles, and, especially, neighbors -- unless, as so frequently happens, all the neighbors are eating them at once. Breath fresheners they’re not, but leeks -- called “ramps” or “rampscallions” in the southern Appalachians where whole towns turn out for ramp-gathering/eating festivals -- are generally said to be the most delectable of all onions and garlics, wild or domestic. What’s more, they’re rich in Vitamins C and have the same capacity for reducing cholesterol as garlic. Striking green against the drab forest duff of early spring, these lovely, orchid-like members of the lily family abound in the deciduous woods of eastern North America. Look for the flat, rubbery leaves in moist, shady areas. Any doubt about what you’ve found will be thoroughly erased by crushing a leaf and inhaling the strong onion odor. Leek leaves and, later, their bulbs are superb in scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, and casseroles or as onion substitutes in any recipe.