In West Virginia you can find people rummaging through the woods right now in search of two of springs most sought after foods, Ramps and Morel mushrooms! West Virginians are crazy about the two food items and have festivals and huge feeds throughout the season.
A group of Ramps in the woods.
Ramps, often referred to as a wild leek or onion is small and almost resembles a scallion in size. The ramp has larger leaves and can become quite large as the ramp grows to full size.
Ramps are most commonly found in the forest in moist dirt. They grow in patches that can be spotted from yards away. They begin to pop up when there is still snow on the ground and only last during spring temperatures. They don’t stand summer heat very well.
Ramps can get large in size.
Ramps are most commonly fried with potatoes and bacon and served with side dishes such as applesauce, beans, and cornbread. However, recently Ramps have been given the royal treatment in some high class restaurants by being turned into soups and other delicacies.
Another great compliment to go with Ramps are Morel mushrooms. The mushrooms kind of look like a sponge and are wildly sought after during spring. Families go on mushroom hunting trips together and hope to come back with a whole loot.
Morel mushrooms after a hunting trip.
Morel mushrooms typically like moist and shaded spot in the woods, especially near trees and flowers. In West Virginia if you look near downed trees or tree trunks you are most likely to find some mushrooms. The mushrooms also typically like the north face of hills and mountains.
The mushrooms are generally soaked overnight in salt water and then dusted in flour and fried. They have a steak-like texture to them.
A large Morel mushroom.
Morel’s are usually harder to find than ramps, but none less delicious. However it should be noted, you should never go out into the woods and pick items unless you know exactly what you are hunting.