Season for Ramps April - June
What are ramps you may ask? You're not alone, despite TIME magazine foodwriter, Josh Ozwerksy, saying, "The Church of the Ramp is one of the fastest-growing denominations in the religion of seasonality." This is a short-lived springtime green that's about to jump on your radar. Ramps are wild leeks with a small, white bulb and hairy root, resembling green onions but have a forward, garlic-onion flavor. Get your hands on some ramps before all your local chefs-in-the-know get their hands on all of 'em.
How to Buy and Store Ramps
Ramps are among the few gems foraged from the wild, and will make a brief appearance in farmers markets and and some specialty grocers. Keep your eyes peeled. Look for those that are firm with bright green leaves, avoiding any slime or brown spots. Keep them wrapped in your refrigerator, unwashed, where they will keep for up to a week.
How to Cook Ramps
Once you start experimenting with ramps, you'll get accustomed to the unique nature or their truly wild flavor. For the time being, use ramps as you would scallions, green onions or leeks. Anything that would pair well with garlic or leeks will love the ramp. Slice them thinly and use sparingly, and also handle them gently, adding them at the end of the cooking process. Think simple to allow ramps to shine: Scrambled into eggs, garnished alongside seafood, mixed into big bowls of pasta, or oven roasted or grilled to perfection.
Health Benefits of Ramps
Ramps have similar nutritional content as their cultivated counterpart - the leek - also related to onions and garlic. Ramps are high in vitamins A and E which are essential to the formation of healthy teeth, bones and skin and a good working immune system, among other benefits. In ramps you'll find a wealth of minerals such as manganese, iron and chromium, important to the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and insulin. Ramps can improve the immune system, lower bad cholesterol levels and fight cancer, besides being uniquely yummy.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Ramps
When it comes to ramps, they are foraged from the wild by ramp enthusiasts the world over. Hopefully, the ramper (yes, we made that up) is privy to the landscape and/or soil from whence they came, but it's not always the case. Check in with your farmer to find the healthiest and most likely organic ramps that you can. Since they grow wild though, chances are no one has been going out of their way to taint their wild nature with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides - yay.