Have you ever foraged for ramps? They’re tricky to find and their season is short. Here’s how to forage for ramps and where they grow.
If one were to look at my bucket list, they would most likely come up with the idea that I may have a screw or two loose. This may or may not be the case, but one thing that has been on my bucket list for years, is foraging for ramps; the gorgeous cousin of the onion. The holy grail of wild edibles. I’ve spoken to several people that seem to come across them every spring like they’re weeds or something, but for me, the hunt wasn’t so obvious. I finally found wild ramps a couple springs ago, while on a hike. Who knew that a vegetable would make me start struck?!!
Although they have an unfortunate name, ramps are an en vogue vegetable that appear on hip restaurant menus and garner a high price tag at farmer’s markets. Sometimes called a wild leek, they look like scallions but with larger delicate leaves. They taste stronger than a leek, and are more pungently-garlicky than a scallion.
Look for ramps underneath dense deciduous wooded areas, and they generally grow on north-facing slopes. There are some lookalikes out there such as Lilly of the Valley, so make sure and smell them. If they smell like onion, then you’ve found yourself a ramp. If I were willing to bet, the reason for their popularity is because the season is so short; only from around early April to around mid to late May, depending how north you’re located. As temperatures get warmer, the leaves will turn yellow and die.
So, with my basket in tow, I started to forage. After reading article upon article about everything ramp-y, I carefully cut the stem, leaving the root bulb in the ground so the ramp can regerminate. And with every ramp I placed in my basket, my head was spinning with recipe ideas. One thing for sure, ramp butter was a must. Of course. Make a batch or two of ramp butter, roll it into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and it’s good in the freezer for up to a year. I mean, corn-on-the-cob with ramp butter. Perfectly grilled ribeye or a delicate piece of fish with a pat of ramp butter on top. Heck, you can even add to steamed vegetables and let it melt to utter goodness. Seriously. Click HERE for the ramp butter recipe.
Then I thought, how about raising the ante on ranch dressing and making a Ramp Dressing. Obvi. Serve over a salad or even with crudité. Delish. Click here for the recipe.
Since I haven’t met a dip or a chip I didn’t like, instead of french onion dip, how about a ramp dip. Hey, from one dip to another, I’m here to tell you that this ramp dip is amaze-balls. Click here.
Let ’em shine on their own. Sauté in a little olive oil and plate them up. So, so good. Ramps are beautiful delicate gems that are only in season for a short time. Go foraging for them and if you don’t find them, try again next year. At least you’ll get some exercise out of it. For me, I can finally check foraging for ramps off my bucket list.
I have heard about ramps for years, but never knew what they looked like. I suppose I could have googled that, but it was much easier to just wait for your post!
Your pictures look mouth watering! Well done!
Is there any use for wild onion? We seem to always have them in our yard, but no ramps!
Brooke Fedigan says
Hunting for ramps during season is fun and rewarding. They are delicious, tasting like a cross between garlic and scallions. How about grilling your wild onions? Or, cleaning them up really well, chopping them finely and adding them to cream cheese. MMmmmm!
I’ve never heard of a ramp! I’ll be on the look out now. The ramp butter sounds delicious!
So interesting! I’ve never heard of a ramp either and Hubs is crazy about everything onion-y!
Kippi at Home says
Wow! I have never heard of ramps. I love to learn something new. Ramp butter sounds like great for corn on the cob!