Sunday, April 8, 2012


It's that time of year in the eastern US - ramps season. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, wild garlic and ramson, and in French, ails des ours, or bear's garlic, are a wild perennial that grows extensively in deciduous forests from the southeastern US all the way up into Quebec.  You can read more information on ramps in "Wild Leeks - April's Wild Food of the Month,"

They've become the darling of the foodie set over the past few years to the extent that there are concerns of over-harvesting. Ramps grow in the wild, so they are generally foraged, not cultivated, so would-be foragers are encouraged not to pull up more than 10% of a crop. They've been so over-harvested in Quebec that people are now banned from foraging for them to allow the population to revitalize.

Check 'em out, similar to scallions, but with flat, wide leaves:

A closer look at the bulbs:

Some ramps have a white bulb with a purplish stalk that transitions to the green leaves, while others have a stalk that remains whitish green, like these. I've read that the ones with the purple stalks have more of a bite to them while the green-tinted ones are milder.

Whatever the case, they're a wonderful, pungent, garlicky-oniony addition to your dish.

After an unsuccessful search for them at the regional farmers market, I found some yesterday at Wegmans for $12.99/lb, looking fresh and young, still with the dirt clinging to them. I grabbed a small bundle of them and have had a riot of wonderful recipes running through my mind. Although I will almost certainly make a risotto and a spaghetti dish with the ramps, one of the most tempting sounding preparations is sauteed ramps with bacon as a side for fried eggs.

So far my lovely ramps have made it into deviled eggs, which also feature my homemade mayo:

a bacon and ramps pizza:

and this morning, a ramps and scallion omelette with ham, cheddar and chives:

It was funny - I'd made this omelette for myself for a fresh and tasty Easter breakfast, and I was standing in the kitchen with my fork poised over the omelette (yes, sometimes I eat standing at the counter), when my younger daughter came into the kitchen saying, "Mommy, what... is... that... SMELL?! It smells so delicious!"

I had her grab a fork and, to be fair, I called my older daughter down and within 2 minutes, the three of us devoured it. The lovely aroma of sauteed ramps hung in the air for a while afterward, and my younger daughter would stop from time to time and say, "Oh, Mommy, that still smells soooo good!

So, the kids approve of ramps, always a good thing. :)

Some recipes that intrigue me are Spaghetti with Ramps, Ramps Risotto, Creamy Potato and Ramps Soup, Crepes, and Compound Butter... just for a start. :)

I read an article on how you can re-grow scallions in a jar of water, so I thought I'd give it a try with a few of my ramps. I'm also planning on planting a few of the bulbs in a shady spot in my backyard to see if anything might pop up in a few years, as this blogger is trying. Can't hurt!

For more info on ramps:

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