Keep Calm and Ramp On

This month’s feature is a follow-up to the preceding article highlighting wild onions. There is one such subterranean bulb that justly deserves its own mention and that is the glorious ramp. The ramp is also known as wild leek or wild garlic, and for good reason. For those of us in the know, the mature bulb of the ramp harvested just following the disappearance of the winter snows and eaten raw, rewards the successful forager with a sensation of sublime buttery texture, a scallion-like crunch and an incredible lingering pungent taste of mild garlic. This is my absolute favorite edible harbinger of spring. A note of caution is required – This is not the food of choice just prior to engaging in close contact pursuits with non-ramp consumers.
Other than eaten raw, the ramp traditionally finds itself being fried along with potatoes, scrambled with eggs, and baked into cornbread. It also serves as a fine accompaniment to boiled greens.
The ramp is celebrated in the Appalachian regions. Ramp festivals abound in the mountainous areas of Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee. The Cherokee, Ojibwa, and Iroquois native tribes maintain use of ramps as part of their diet and as a medicant. The plant is regarded as a rare delicacy in some Canadian provinces and protected as a threatened species in some areas.
The prime ramp season is woefully short and the taste of preserved ramps doesn’t hold a candle to the fresh leaves and bulbs, so enjoy them while you can.
Keep Calm and Ramp On Keep Calm and Ramp On Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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