A recent visit to West Virginia has me excited about Ramp Season! Ramps are in, Ramps are cool, Ramps are in season. If you have never had a Ramp, a Wild Ramp, Allium tricoccum is a type of wild onion, mainly found in the Eastern U.S. Ramps are also known as wild leek, wood leek, wild garlic. Food writer Josh Ozersky said of the Ramp phenomenon, "The Church of the Ramp is one of the fastest-growing denominations in the religion of seasonality"(Time Magazine, April 13, 2010) Ramps are typically found growing in patches in rich, moist deciduous forests, of North Georgia, Tennessee and north to Canada, and as far west to Missouri and Minnesota.
The town of Richwood, West Virginia is know as the "Ramp Capital of the World" Here is a article on Alabama Public Radio on the Ramp:
Here are some Ramps getting cleaned up for use:
If you live, as I do, in a area of the USA where you cannot gather ramps, you have some options, several online dealers will ship ramps direct to your door, I have found the folks at www.wildwestvirginiaramps.com ship quality ramps that arrive in good shape.
Wild Ramp recipes are abundant on-line, so just do a quick search and you can find plenty of things to do with your ramps, I have made pickled ramps, dried ramps, ramp jelly, ramp pesto, fried ramps and used in stir fry and soups. Use as you would any wild onion.
Here is my Wild Ramp Jelly recipe:
Blend in a blender 1 ½ cups of ramps, leaves and bulbs. You can use up to 2 to 2 ½ cups of pepper if you want.
1 ½ cups white vinegar
6 ½ cups sugar
Boil for 7 minutes after it come to a boil add 1 pack of certo (1 package has two packs)
Boil 10 more minutes
Pour into sterilized jars and process in hot water bath