Ramps oh ramps…. How I love these garlicky pungent green leafy wild alliums. It is, in fact, my first tradition of spring to go into the woods to sustainably harvest ramps and eat one right then right out of the ground- spicy, sweet and aromatic. How great it is when I get the chance to go ‘shopping’ in the great outdoors!
Ramps were my first introductory to the incredibly satisfying and art of foraging for wild edibles about 15 years ago. There is no question that these wild alliums were the ‘gateway drug’ for all the mushrooms and other edibles I obsessively scour the woods for.
I recently read that the ramps in the northeast are said to arrive right around April 18th which is just around the corner.
It’s no mystery that people have been foraging and cooking with wild ramps for a long time but the ramps hit a trendy culinary wave around 10 or so years ago where chefs and other food enthusiasts used ramps in as many ways as they could fathom in their brief month or 2 season. Every year I look forward to fun and creative new dishes but by the end of the season, I’m happy to see it stop as it is a bit of a craze.
I could be the Bubba Gump when it comes to naming off all the various dishes and preparations I’ve seen chefs create with ramps but I’ll just highlight a few starting with the creative as well and ending with the wacky and bizarre:
–Ramp Kimchi- as if kimchee already wasn’t a strong yet addictive punch in each bite, now you can have a ramp riddled batch to really knock your socks off.
-Ramp Butter- Ramps turned into compound butter is a very versatile ingredient and I just love adding a big old dollop of ramp butter to sautéed mushrooms, veggies or just spreading over crusty bread. It also freezes well so you can bet I stock up my freezer so that I have about 3-4 pounds of ramp butter at any given time throughout the year.
-Ramp and Pork Dumplings-recipe here one word- ‘Killer’..
–Ramp Hash– recipe-Chopped up and fried with bacon and potatoes piled high with eggs any style. Breakfast of foraging champions if you ask me..
-Ramp Caviar- Yes, Ramp puree strained and turned into caviar-like beads- a process also known as spherification- the entry level of today’s molecular gastronomy. Easy to do and very cool.
-Ramp Martini- pickled ramps garnishing a gibson. 007 may not approve but drinking one too many of these will be lethal for your breathe indeed.
-Ramp Ice Cream- ummm..pass?
Go find a ramp this spring, eat the green raw right there on the spot and truly take in and be grateful for Mother Nature.