Today was ramp hunting day! I don’t believe that’s an actual holiday, but it should be. Ramps, also known as wild leeks or wild onions, pop up along the Eastern coast of the US in the spring. They look like scallions and smell pungent and garlicky. As far as cooking goes, both the bulbs and and leaves can be used.
Since it’s finally gotten nice out, the day was perfect; warm, breezy and perfect for spending time outdoors. Ramps require a lot of rain to grow so you’ll usually find them at the bottom of hills where plenty of run-off rain collects.
So, off we went to dig some of these babies up. They grow in patches so where you find one. you’ll find more. You harvest them as you would most veggies, trying to keep the roots intact so they’ll last longer once they’re out of the ground.
After an hour or so we packed them up, took them home and got them cleaned up. I’m excited to cook them and even more excited to eat them! I’ve never had one so it should be a fun experience.
We’ve been throwing around the idea of pickling some since I went overboard and bought a dozen mason jars to preserve lemons in. It’s not like you can ever have enough mason jars though… they’re so cute.
Just like ramps… look at those! Just waiting to be picked!
They just look like spring time. Bright green leaves sprouting out of all the dull, brown remnants of winter. If you plan on digging up your own, be prepared to get a little dirty. We just used shovels, but since they’re just along the surface of the soil and you need to get at the roots, it gets a little messy.
It’s also important to mention that when you remove a ramp, roots and all, it won’t grow back. Along with an increase in popularity, ramps have become more and more scarce due to overharvesting. In Canada, it’s actually illegal to forage for ramps now.
In order to preserve the ramps, if you’re going to harvest them, take only what you personally need and only take the more mature plants (the ones with the longest, largest leaves).
Leave the babies to grow for someone else and don’t completely clear out a patch of them. This way, we can enjoy ramps but also ensure they’ll be around for years to come.
That said, get out there and get some while you can!