Pickled Suckers and a few Ramps
It seems that this year's "spring" has been stalled in winter-mode forever. April 23rd today and it's a crisp 42°. Someone said close to a foot of snow fell last night in northern Wisconsin. I'm not one to complain about weather; I enjoy all of our region's elemental inconsistencies. But even I am tired of waiting for spring warmth and sun. Mostly I'm tired of waiting for the flush of wild spring edibles that I covet each year.
Today my impatience got the better of me and so I went out and dug up just a few fledgling ramps, their leaves with no more than an couple inches of nascent growth. I don't normally like to do that, as the leaves of mature ramps are as flavorful as the bulbs. But I needed something now! Ramp and duck egg pizza is tonight's dinner entree.
Last week saw my daughter Jesse and I doing a bit of sucker fishing with our dip net. The suckers are running now, though not impressively, and as the larder is bereft of last year's pickled sucker I had a hankering to make some more. We scored a couple of modestly-sized males from the Little Manitowoc River, enough for two jars of pickled meat. See my recipe from last year's (2012) May 5th blog post (the only difference in the recipe is that this time I used apple wine instead of regular white wine).
We hope to get a few more suckers this week, as I want to pickled at least a dozen jars-worth.
The rainbow trout are running now as well. The day after Jesse and I went out, which was a weekend, I went out with rod and lure to try my luck alone. One beautiful, silvery 19" male rainbow was my reward, just enough to satisfy my wife and I for lunch that same afternoon.
Yes, it's been cool to downright frosty this phony spring month of April, but a few fish and a handful of small ramps are enough to keep the fire in my belly alight.