Everything You Need to Know About Ramps

Food & Wine: Everything You Need to Know About Ramps
Ricotta Crostini with Pickled Ramps and Crisp Pancetta. © Michael Turek
By Justine Sterling Posted April 29, 2014

It’s the wild leek that everyone’s talking about. Thanks to their short harvest season and pungent flavor, ramps have gained cult-like status in farmers’ markets across the country. If you happen to score a bunch before chefs snatch them all up, here’s what you should know.

Where: Ramps are native to North America and can be found everywhere from the American South to Canada.

When: April through June.

What to look for: Small, firm bulbs with broad, bright green leaves. The roots should still be attached.

Flavor profile: Ramps’ flavor falls somewhere between onions and garlic, with an earthy, slightly funky aroma. The bulbs are more pungent than the leaves.

Health benefits: Ramps are packed with vitamins C and A. They are also a good source for chromium, a mineral that promotes healthy brain function.

How to Eat Them: Ramps are super versatile. Prepare them by removing the roots and giving them a quick rinse, then try them raw with just a sprinkle of salt and a smear of good butter, like you would radishes. They’re also fantastic pickled and served on toast with creamy ricotta or used as a seasonal garnish for a martini. Ramps can be sautéed in butter and tossed with pasta or quickly roasted until the greens are just crisp. Like many things in life, they’re also terrific on pizza.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Nettles
Everything You Need to Know About Cardoons
Everything You Need to Know About Dandelion Greens

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