Delicious and Unusual Spring Produce
GREEN GARLIC All garlic comes out of the ground fresh as plump, white juicy little cloves with thin skins that you can actually eat, nothing like that papery stuff on dried and cured garlic. Fresh green garlic has a much more mild flavor and scent, making it perfect to slice and add to soups, salsas and even raw in salads and salad dressings. Slice the tender green stalks and eat them too.
SORREL This lovely and delicate spring herb has a bit of a citrus, tangy flavor to it, making it a perfect addition to spring salads, scrambled eggs and savory soups. Many regional chefs, like Orlando Rodriguez at Veraisons restaurant on Seneca Lake make a creamy sauce with the sorrel, using the lemony flavors to enhance a roast chicken or a poached fish. You can usually buy sorrel in seeds and start your own supply.
RAMPS A forager’s delight. These bright green leaves with glowing white bulbs gather in large clumps near creeks, gorges and wooded lots. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a strong onion and garlic taste and smell but when sautéed, grilled or steamed, these alliums have a flavor like nothing else. Be a steward of the forest though and only take 10% of whatever bounty you discover so that years from now new generations of foragers will also enjoy delicious ramps.
BURDOCK Native to Asia and Europe, burdock grows wild throughout most of the Finger Lakes. The roots are delicious cooked in soups and stews, or peeled and cooked with other root vegetables. Although burdock root is related to the artichoke, the flavor of the root is similar to parsnips. Burdock is usually ready to harvest in late spring. Cornell Cooperative Extension often offers courses on how to identify and harvest burdock root.
This piece originally appeared in our Spring 2013 issue.