Creative Sustenance

Culinary and other adventures in foraging, gardening, urban farming and more, in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Suckers, Ramps and Trout Lilies

While scouting for young burdock rosettes today, I stopped at a small bridge a mile outside of town, just to see what I could see in the river below. The fast moving water was greenish but clear and, lo and behold, I could see several small groups of suckers. So, I drove home, grabbed the dip net and called my Dad to ask him if he wanted to join me for an hour of fun. 

I set up the net on the bridge while Dad walked downstream a-ways and started "herding" suckers to my net. We had a blast, hollering, "Here they come!" "He went under the net!" "Got one!" (used that line several times). We thought we'd give it a whirl further downstream from the bridge, where I just threw the net into the river, watched for suckers speeding past and pulled hard and fast when one or more passed over the net. "Got one!" became "Holy cow!" when on one pull I hauled in six.

I cleaned , cubed and salt brined the fish for later pickling. The jagged odds and ends I breaded and fried for a tasty snack before heading back out to the woods for more wild edibles scouting.

Breaded and fried sucker bites.

The ramps are well on their way now; it won't be more than another week or two before the forest floor is carpeted with them. Trout lilies make good opportunity in the spots where ramps choose to share the ground. I harvested one modest cluster of ramps and a few sweet trout lily bulbs, enough to give everyone at home a bite or two. 

Cluster of ramps.

Mottled trout lily leaf next to young ramps.

I love trout lily bulbs. They're one of the real treats of the early spring edibles. Sweet, crunchy, easy to harvest. I wish they were larger than pea-size, but were that the case I might make a pig of myself with them. As it is, they do well as simply a lovely little candy treat.

Trout Lily bulbs next to a bunch of ramps.

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