Anyone else caught onto the ramps craze? It’s definitely on high speed around here in San Diego this spring. All the restaurants are serving up this delicacy in some form or another. It’s like a pretentious hipster announcement that spring is here. A muddy, pungent, and garlicky announcement.
I actually didn’t know what ramps were until I started noticing them on menus. So I did a little internet digging, and I’m going to share my foodie knowledge with you. Because this is my platform to do that. (I have been also known to ramble for hours about obscure food facts in the presence of family and friends… and for that I deeply apologize…)
So here goes:
1. What are they? The science-y name for ramps is Allium Tricoccum. (Allium is the genus name for onion-y type things). Colloquially they are referred to as ramps, ramson, wild garlic, wild leek, wood leek, and spring onion. For many, they are the first of the green produce to signify the start of spring. They are widely considered to be a culinary delicacy.
2. What do they taste like? It’s like very strong garlic and subtle leeks had a beautiful spring-time love child. Sweet, onion-y, yet highly pungent. In a very delicious way. (Trust me.)
3. Where are they grown? Ramps are a wild spring vegetable, and are found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are most common in the Appalachia region of the US but can be found in some parts of Canada as well. They are foraged and harvested locally and are not commercially grown. (Meanwhile, if you’re interested, this is a nifty post about one-man’s adventure in ramp foraging.)
**Trivia – Ramps in Quebec, Canada are a protected species and are banned from being served in restaurants, although an individual is allowed to harvest a quantity not to exceed 50 bulbs for personal use.**
4. What do they cost? Due to the fandom that surrounds ramps these days, they are selling for hefty prices. Like $20 a pound prices. But they are worth it. Trust me.
Do you live in San Diego? Ramps are not typically available at the local farmer’s markets as they are not a local San Diego delicacy, but you can locate them at Specialty Produce in Mission Hills. Just call ahead to make sure they’re in stock. (Never been to Specialty Produce? Yes it’s a food warehouse. Don’t be intimidated. Just do it. Oh, and bring a jacket because it’s chilly in there.)
5. How do I prepare them? Try these awesome recipes that feature spring greatest ingredient. The Gourmet Gourmand has yet to post a recipe…but stay tuned guys! I have my ramps, and it will be happening, shortly.
In the meantime.. Check out these recipes from some amazing and seasonally-dedicated bloggers.
Recipe for Ramp Pasta with Morels at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook
Recipe for Pickled Ramp at The Garden of Eating
Recipe for Buttermilk and Ramp Biscuits at Cheese and Chocolate
Recipe for Flaky Chinese-Style Ramp Pancakes at Crumb Blog
Recipe for Ramp Pesto Pizza with Razor Clams at Wild Greens and Sardines
Recip for Hazelnut and Wild Ramp Pesto Crostini at JJ Begonia
Recipe for Ramp and Mushroom Quiche at Two of a Kind
Want more info? Check out Bon Appetit’s Feature on Ramps.
Welcome to Spring!