Wild leeks (Allium tricoccum), aka “ramps,” need no introduction, though here are a few cool facts regarding this wild spring food:
•The leaves from wild leeks contain at least 1.5 times the vitamin C content of an orange.
•Wild leeks contain medicinal compounds known as thiosulfinates, of which allicin is one. Allicin, a thiosulfinate usually attributed to garlic, possesses antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.
•Research from Biological Conservation (2004) suggests that removal of 95% of wild leeks within a plot could take 148 years to fully recover.
I like to harvest a leaf or two from a plant, then move on to the next… always leaving plenty in tact to maintain the population.
Wild leeks are slow to reproduce and could take years to recover from poor harvesting practices, so hey… always keep the species’ longevity in mind when bringing some home for the table!