(I don’t know if “Little” would be the correct way to describe my older kids. They’re not so little anymore. One is actually an adult. So, I haven’t quite figured out a better thing to call them yet )
Ramps are pretty awesome. Some people call them wild leeks and they are close to real leeks but not quite. For one thing, ramps are much easier to clean and prepare. They grow in wet ,woody places, usually near streams or ponds and lakes. In the springtime , you’ll be able to smell them before you see them usually. They have a garlicky -oniony scent. To harvest, you just give a yank and they come right up out of the ground.
They’re really pungent,actually. My whole kitchen reeked for a day or two after the kids brought them home. There’s a festival in Pennsylvania celebrating ramps that’s called “Stinkfest”. Not hard to smell why.
In my area in upstate NY, local restaurants that feature local,in season foods love the springtime and ramp season. You use ramps in dishes just like you would onions or leeks but it does have a distinctive flavor of it’s own.
If you’re lucky enough to know where a huge patch of ramps is, you can make some nice extra income in the Spring selling your harvest to local restaurants.
There have been some problems in some places due to over harvesting and environment destruction. In Maine, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, ramps are on the “special concern” list . In Quebec, ramps are a protected plant species and you can only harvest a limited amount.
If you can harvest ramps where you live, it’s worth exploring woods and clearings to find them. Obviously not on private property but I didn’t really have to say that,did I?
They’re high in Vitamin A & Vitamin C and also a good source of selenium and chromium. Selenium is one of those super helpful antioxidants that may be helpful in relieving symptoms of asthma,cystic fibrosis…and dandruff. Chromium helps metabolize fats,carbs ,and insulin.
To use ramps, all you need to do is clean the dirt off of them and trim the bulb from the stem and roots.Use the bulbs as you would onions. You can use them fresh or store them in airtight containers in the freezer. I’ve never tried it but I do know that you can also use the leaves to make pesto. Some people also pickle and can them.