If you live in the Appalachian Mountains or certain parts of the Midwest, now’s the perfect time to harvest what used to be the only garlicky plant on the American palate — ramps.
Ramps are a wild perennial that can be found in moist, mature forests in the same places early spring ephemerals like hepatica and toothworts grow. There are two species of ramps which look subtly different, but both are remarkably easy to ID. Break off a piece of the leaf and sniff it. Does it smell strongly of garlic? Than you’ve found ramps!
Traditionally, the entire plant is dug up and eaten in dishes ranging from fried ramps to ramp soup and biscuits. But overharvesting is becoming more and more of a concern, so the sustainable wildcrafter is better off simply picking one leaf per plant. Don’t worry, you can still end up with quite a mess of tasty greens.
Have you been out hunting ramps in your woods? If so, I hope you’ll share your favorite recipe below!
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