Origin. Also known as wild leeks or wild garlic, ramps are foraged from woody, shaded areas on hillsides and forest floors in Eastern Canada and the United States. Especially abundant in the Appalachian region, ramps were historically made into spring tonics as a home-remedy as they are high in vitamins A and C and rich in minerals.
Growing. Ramps are typically foraged in the wild and signal the end of a long winter, heralding the beginning of spring. Due to the short growing season for them - from April to May - and the fact that they're very different to cultivate, ramps are scarce and thus, a hot commodity at local farmers markets. In Quebec, ramps are protected by law and there is actually a black market for them. Make sure yours are foraged ethically and sustainably!
Flavor. More intense than an onion or leek but milder than garlic.
Cooking. Fairly versatile, ramps can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Thinly slice them raw and add to your dishes in place of onions or scallions. Add them to your salads. Grill them whole or sautee and pair with fattier foods. Ramps are also great additions to pestos. Here's an easy recipe for ramps and pasta by Alison Roman.
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