Spring in Lanark County - Wild Garlic Time

We live just outside of Ottawa and a short drive away, is where we are lucky enough to be able to pick some wild garlic in the spring.  I am actually surprised that I was so keen to go garlic picking again - after my first attempt last May.  This trip was much better - no mosquitoes, only a few black flies, making it much more pleasant.

With my wellies and shovel, we headed into the bush - back at our secret foraging location.  The abundance of plants was a welcome sight.  Last time we were out, we had waited so long in the season that the ramps (green leafy tops of the wild garlic) were all dead or yellow.  This time, the green tops were clearly visible.

We picked (dug) for about 30 minutes and left there with 2.5 lbs of wild garlic.  Next, getting them home to be cleaned and processed.  This is the time consuming part.  It took me about 3 hours to clean them, remove the bulbs, clean the ramps and make my various items.  I ended up making ramp butter (which is now in the freezer and will be so delicious in August when it's corn season); ramp pesto and chopped wild garlic in grape seed oil (a neutral flavoured oil).  I like to add this when I saute mushrooms or spinach.

For last night's dinner, I chopped 1/2 cup of ramps to add to my sauteed spinach (2 cups) and mushrooms (1 cup).  What I find interesting is that for the strength of their aroma, they don't taste that strong - I always find I need to use more than I think to get a true flavour from them.  Since we got a recent dumping of snow, not sure how the little plants will fare.  Glad we got out for some picking on Earth Day.

Here is what I did with them:

This year's bounty
Washed and ready
The cleaned bulbs
Finely chopped with grape seed oil
Ramp pesto with almonds
Ramp butter
Check out my article on Foodie.Ca!

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