Ramps, Allium Tricoccum, also known as wild leek are probably the most commonly known wild edible in our forests. They are found in the mountains and sandy hillsides and near streams. Once the snow melts they send up leaves that are tastiest in early spring.
From Virginia Tech: “Ramps, Allium tricoccum, also known as wild leeks, are native to the forests of eastern North American Mountains. They can be found growing in patches in rich, moist, deciduous forests and range from Canada, south and west to Minnesota and Missouri, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee. In southern United States ramps emerge in late March and early April in cool, shady areas with damp soil. The young plants send up smooth, broad, leaves that die back as the shrub and tree canopy close and reduce the sunlight that can reach the ramps. Before this occurs, people flock to the forests to collect these delicious but smelly spring edible. The bulbs are spicy, and have been compared to a cross between scallions and garlic.”
Like onions and leeks ramps add a pungent flavor to many dishes. Do you have a favorite ramp recipe or story? I would love to hear from you. If you have ramps in your area scout out how much. Is the crop plentiful? If yes, then only harvest what you need so the area has enough plants to reseed itself. If not, please let alone. Ramp festivals are popular and there are concerns that this plant is being over harvested.
Enjoy this beautiful day. Judit