Spring is an awesome time of year if you are interested in foraging. There are so many things available that it almost makes your head spin. We’ve seen morels, fiddlehead ferns, nettles, violets, and ramps.
Ramps (also known as wild leeks) are a relative on the onion, and therefore are very reminiscent of them in both scent and taste. They have a small white bulb and usually two wide leaves protruding from it and they usually grow in large groupings. The leaves are also edible though I personally think they have more of a garlicky flavor which makes them really unique.
Lately there has been some talk that these guys are getting overharvested in the upstate New York area and run the risk of becoming extinct in the region. While I find this hard to believe since they are so prevalent I also believe that many people do not understand sustainable harvesting. With the rise in popularity of foraging, and native foods I can completely understand why these easy to find and harvest beauties have also risen in popularity. It should go without saying, but in case you weren’t already aware if you plan to harvest any wild plant please do not wipe out the entire grouping. Just take a few to thin the group and allow some of the younger plants to grow strong. I suggest taking less than 25% of any wild grouping.
Once you have harvested a few ramps it’s important to wash and trim them. While there are roughly a millions of ways to use ramps a simple sauté has always been my favorite. Already being full of flavor on their own makes them a great little side dish to any meal.
- 1 tablesspoons olive oil
- 1 bunch (roughly 1 lb) ramps, washed & roots trimmed
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. The garlic should begin to brown and become fragrant.
- Gently add the ramps to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing lightly. Once the cooked and the greens have melted remove from heat.
- Serve warm with a pinch of salt.