My husband first introduced me to Ramps right after we started dating. Ray had grown up foraging for ramps with his dad, which to me was totally awesome. I was so excited when he took me to pick food growing in the wood as one of our first dates, not to mention I always loved trying new foods and I never even heard of a ramp!
Generally Ramps can be found from South Carolina all the way to Canada. In Appalachia Ramp hunting in the spring takes on a celebratory air. A few places have Ramp Festivals where you can try Ramps cooked in all sorts of dishes. Ramp Patches (like morel mushroom spots) are often kept top secret by the ones who know where they’re at.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of ramps, initially at least. Ray ate copious amounts of raw ramps every spring, it seemed like he had handfuls of ramps with every meal and even in between for weeks. I appreciated them and went digging ramps with joyful glee, but since I’ve never liked the taste of raw onions, the stronger onion/garlic flavor of raw ramps just wasn’t my thing. Occasionally, Ray would walk on the wild side and add some ramps to fried potatoes, that was more my style.
Over the years I started playing around with ramps in different recipes and dishes. 15 years since I tried a ramp for the first time, and I’m now completely RAMP OBSESSED!
I will occasionally nibble on few young spring raw ramps while we are digging them, but I most often enjoy mine creatively included in cooked dishes. I have even found magical ways to incorporate the beautiful greens in to a variety of dishes, including making them into pesto! Ramps have such an amazing flavor when cooked, again similar to a combination of onions/garlic/leek all wild and uncontrolled, but only better.
Ramps have been steadily gaining popularity and making appearances at farmers markets and even some speciality grocery stores. This very easy and delicious recipe for Wild & Wonderful Ramp Chowder is the perfect way to enjoy ramps, wether your new to ramps or even if you’ve been eating them your whole life.
Perhaps the one of the best aspects of this recipe is that it’s made with healthy, real foods that can be sourced from local farmers, naturally gluten-free, and easily adapted to be dairy free/vegan if desired.
Oh, and did I mention it’s DELICIOUS?! You’ll just love it.. I promise.