Friday, March 14, 2008


In many ways we've lost touch with that desperate springtime longing for fresh green things that only living an agrarian life based on self sufficiency engenders. If we want a salad or fresh greens, we just go to the supermarket and buy them. Consider what it is like to have nothing but cabbage, because that stores well buried in the root cellar, for the entire winter. Some time in late February, the creasy greens get large enough to cut. By this point your body is craving the vitamin C punch these things carry and no matter how old you are, you are eager to have your first plate of greens.

Greens are almost always cooked here. Green salads don't seem to be as common and the old timers almost always saute or wilt the black-seeded Simpson lettuce they grow in the gardens.

Creasy's grow low to the ground and are a many lobed wild mustard green that is distantly related to water cress.. You can tell when you taste them in the field by their hot bite. You find them in unploughed fields and fallow areas. You cut them with a knife, leaving the root system intact for the next year's growth. They self seed very nicely and will even grow indoors well. The seeds are available from several heirloom seed sites if you'd like to sew you a patch. They'll grow just about anywhere.

Traditionally, you blanch the greens in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain them. Then you fry up some chucks of bacon and smother onions and ramps(if they are available). Saute the drained greens in this mixture, tossing all the ingredients well.

If you want to fancy this up, substitute prosciutto for the bacon, smother your onions in clarified butter, toss all together and top with feta or goat cheese.

I like them chopped raw and spicy in my salads--I fancy a mess right about now.

9 Comments:

  1. Granny Sue said...
    Aw man! you are weeks ahead of us! I could surely favor a mess of creasey greens right now. MMMM. I like them with scrambled eggs and potatoes fried with ramps. Now THAT is food.
    Rosie said...
    I know! They start getting big enough to cut here in late Feb.-early March. And we've had really balmy weather in between freak snowstorms so things are already greening up.

    That does sound like a good meal! We have our ramps festival every year here in April--good stuff!
    Peggy said...
    we love creasey greens!!
    Gabriel Orgrease said...
    Oh, gosh, I love ramps. Here on LI we can't find them. Two years ago I was up on a project on the west side of the Catskills and a well driller happened by with a bag of them. I was in heaven... and my family thought I was a bit nuts. I was raised up foraging.
    Rosie said...
    Ramps are very big here, Gabriel. They brought in 8,000 pounds of them for the festival last year and they still ran out. They eat them here scrambled with eggs. It is getting harder to find them in the wild. I've got one patch and I don't let anyone know where it is.

    LI is too coastal--they only seem to grow in the mountains.

    I do quite a bit of wildcrafting, since there is so much here to enjoy.
    Mike Golch said...
    Being a city guy,I've heard of ramps,but that is my loss.Granny Sur I like to make scrabled eggs w/fried potatoes,my gramma had them that way,and for the friday meat less meal friend potatoes and porkand beans my Wife makes that for me sometimes,she grew up haveing that onfridays sometime.
    Anonymous said...
    u live in northwestern ohio but am from west virginia. i would love to find seeds for creasy greens. can anyone help?

    mimosa2330@yahoo.com
    Mountain Girl said...
    The wild creaseys are hard to find in the fields and gardens as in the past, so I have planted some seeds I purchased and would like to leave them to reseed. My husband said he read that they would not reseed as the wild ones do. Anyone know about this? I have some beginning to flower and would like to know if I should leave them.
    Rosie said...
    @Mountain Girl: I don't see any reason why your creasies wouldn't reseed if you let them go. They are in the mustard family and those usually are quite good about seeding themselves all over the place. If in doubt, you can always replant them each year--which may be a bit more reliable in the long run.

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