Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever heard of ramps? Probably not, if like me, you live west of Minnesota. Those of you Easterners are likely well familiar with them. Also known as wild leeks or ramsons, ramps are one of the first delicacies of spring. They grow in the woodlands east of the Great Plains — and often in huge swaths.

Ramps are gathered by professional foragers each spring and make their way to any number of local food festivals. These days ramps are trendy; you can find them on white-linen menus from New York to San Francisco.

My friend Hank brought some ramps over for us to play with the other day; as a Jersey boy, he is well acquainted with them. According to Hank, you use ramps like green onions or young spring garlic. Ramps taste a lot like green garlic, though more subtle in their garlicky flavor.

They can be eaten raw, but are best sautéed, roasted, grilled, pickled or made into pesto. The spearpoint-shaped upper leaves, unusually wide for a member of the onion family, are tender and are often separated from the stouter stalk and miniature bulb.

Have a favorite ramp recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments. Also check out these great ramp recipes from fellow food bloggers:

If you live West of Minnesota and want to try ramps, the only way to get them is to have them shipped in. They are available online from late March through the spring. You can order them at Earthy Delights.

Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Doris Myers

    We will get up some bacon and remove the bacon and cool down the grease and then add the team’s that have been cut up read the bacon and 1/2 cup of vintage and 1/2 cup water salt and pepper to taste and we will add some ramps to fried potatoes and we headed them to eggs also

  • Donna

    My husband likes ramps in potaote salad. I make a treet and ramp receipe. one can of treet cut into bite size. Two cups of macroni cooked until tender and drained. one egg scrambled not cooked. one teaspoon mustard. one green pepper cut into bite size. one half of a cup of plain bread crumbs. one half cup of mozerella cheese and cheddered cheese. five ramps cut into bite size. mix all together and bake it in oven on 350 degrees about 15 minutes in a casserole dish. ramps are in place of onions.

  • Scott

    I’m in New York and just had my first experience with ramps. It was a pickled ramp and gin martini. Awesome and delicious!

  • Megan

    I just made a fantastic Thai Green Curry….. loaded with ramps. They impart such a wonderful flavor. The recipe is on my site. Yummm we love spring ramps!

  • Molly

    @Jonell, funny you should mention the bears. Here in Hungary the word for ramps is literally “bear’s grass.” Love them — one of the first signs of spring (and fresh local produce) in the markets here. My faves are in place of basil in a pesto, in omelets, and in soups.

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