Picture this: you’re at your local farmer’s market, supporting small businesses, carrying your cute tote bag, and browsing through all of the different stands. You notice that there is a particularly large crowd gathering at a stand. You make your approach, curiosity officially piqued. You see that people are excitedly grabbing handfuls of what appears to be spring onions, but with broad leaves.
People are buying them by the bunches, and it’s all very exciting, but what are they?
Ramp Season Is Here!
What you are looking at are ramps, a very special seasonal delicacy. It’s a delicious green that is very unique and quickly becoming popular amongst true foodies. They are also known as wild leeks or spring onions, but not to be confused with what you may find in the grocery store. No, these special greens have a more delicate flavor that is usually compared to garlic, with a mild-onion taste. They are delicious! But what makes them so special? They are found only in the wild.
Ramps Are Only Found In The Wild
Ramps are one of the first vegetables to come out of the soil after winter. They are elusive, and many people take to foraging for ramps when the time comes! Historically, these garlicky alliums have saved many mountaineers in the past from scurvy, due to their high Vitamin C content. However, the season to forage is unfortunately short, and quantity decrease as more and more people take interest in them. So when it comes to foraging for ramps, do so sustainably. Cut the ramp at the root, so it’s left intact in the ground. That way, it’ll be able to grow back! Don’t expect them to grow anytime soon though, because that can take anywhere between 5 to 7 years. It’s understandable why ramps are such a rare treat. So how do you prepare them?
There are many ways you can enjoy ramps. You can eat them raw just like a regular scallion, thinly chopping them up and sprinkling them on salads, pasta, and anything else you like. You can also toss them in the pan with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, to create a warm, garlicky, and slightly nutty dish. In this Fried Ramps recipe by Annie McGee, the ramps are tossed with coconut butter, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, and French breakfast radishes to create a complex flavor. You can even use ramps to make pesto, just like in Rachael Campbell ‘s Ramp and Spinach Pesto Pasta dish. The garlic and onion flavor of the ramps makes this pesto extra delicious. You can also try adding ramps to your pilaf dishes, as depicted in this Quinoa Pilaf by Cathy Elton.
There are so many versatile ways to use ramps, check out our last article on five ways to use them! Ramps truly are a special veggie, and the fact that they’re not only rare, but also wild, adds to the adventure. We think that makes them taste even better. Get creative and have fun trying the elusive ramp!
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