A PA Spring Tradition
Growing up in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania, there are many traditions that we have learned to celebrate and cherish. From deer hunting camp, to the opening day of trout fishing season, to Memorial Day camping, to Belschnickel, they are family traditions that we all look forward to.
There is one tradition that nearly everyone in the area takes part in. With the snow pack finally melting from the mountain tops as the days begin to grow longer, people begin to talk about and make plans for the approaching celebration.
Adults and children of all ages gather their gear and load it into their backpacks, as the weeks of the celebration grow near. Committee members and cooks plan various festivals to take place near the end of April.
The spring tradition that we hold close is none other than leek picking season. The mighty leek picking season coincides with trout fishing season. Whereas many people are out in the forest dipping their line in the cold mountain streams and scavenging the hillsides.
We are not referring to the oversized bland leeks that sit on the produce shelves at your local grocery store. No, the real leeks will not show up there, because they are illegal to sell.
PA leaks grow in the wild on damp shady rocky mountain sides. They have a much stronger flavor than the commercially-grown type. Their appearance resembles a small green onion, with long green tops emerging from the ground.
The wild leek is celebrated at festivals offering musical bands and dancing, games and a huge variety of dishes made with fresh wild leeks. Leek recipes include salads, ham and leek soup, scalloped potatoes and ham with leeks added, and even leek pie is worth a try.
In nearly every refrigerator, you will find some of these dishes throughout the season, but there is one that everyone keeps handy. That would be leek dip, which is used for a wide variety of dishes. There are as many different leek dip recipes as there are people in the area.
Revolution Outdoors would like to share our favorite leek recipe with you. This recipe is more of a spread than a dip. The thicker consistency spreads well on crackers, vegetables and pretzels, another PA treat.
PA Leek Spread
- 1/2 cup PA fresh chopped leeks
- 8oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 4oz sour cream
- 1 cup shredded smoked Cooper cheese
- 2 strips of finely chopped cooked bacon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, place cream cheese and allow it to reach room temperature to soften. Add sour cream and smoked Cooper cheese. Mix until well blended. Add chopped leeks, bacon, cayenne and salt. Mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
Serve on your favorite crackers. For a complete meal add some pepperoni or venison sausage slices.