Picked leeks (some people call them “ramps”, but those people are lame) are one of my most favorite things. Maybe it’s the fact that making them is a hands-on activity from the very beginning. Maybe it’s the fact that they give you breath that keeps people away for days. Whatever the reason, finding leeks in the woods means that summer will be here soon.
I’ve made pickled leeks for the last three years. Funny backstory: I grew up watching my Dad eat leeks. Raw, cooked, pickled, alone or with other foods. And I. Hated. Them. I hated the smell, I hated that they took forever to clean, and I hated how strong they were. I also used to hate bacon. Now, if a meal is missing something, I add bacon. If I’ve had a long day? Bacon for dinner. If I want to make vegetables taste better, pair them with bacon. The moral of the story is that as you get older, you get weirder. Now that I’m old and weird, bacon and leeks hold a special place in my heart.
When Dad called this year to tell me that the leeks were ready, I threw my mud boots in the car and met him after work one evening. Usually, I get super excited when I see a huge patch of leeks and I end up digging bucket after bucket of the suckers. This year, with two of my kids in tow (one of whom immediately had to use the bathroom when we got there and refused to pee in the woods), we managed to get one grocery bag of leeks between us.
At first glance, it looked like plenty – especially since I was the one cleaning them. After everything was cleaned and trimmed, I was left with enough leeks to make one teeny-tiny pint jar of pickled leeks.
This will be enough to get me through for a little while, but I’ll certainly be out before summer gets here. What am I going to bring to family picnics?!? Who will get a jar of pickled leeks as a gag gift during the family Christmas party?!?
Recently, I had a co-worker ask me for my Pickled Leeks recipe. This reminded me that I had done a #sketchaday on Instagram last year during leek season.
After looking at this sketch from a year ago, my first thought was, “Ew. I sucked at drawing WAY MORE last year”, which made me want to revisit this sketch and improve upon it. I’m on the road this week for the Day Job, but I was able to squeeze in a quick sketch during my travels today.
It’s not much to look at right now, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want to take it from here. I only wish I brought my colored pencils with me for this trip.