Monday, May 2, 2011

Harvesting Wild Ramps

Today we were invited to go harvesting wild ramps with three other families. Honestly, I had never heard of wild ramps but spending a couple of hours in the woods with some lovely moms and their kids is always an exciting adventure!

Wild ramps I learned are also called wild leek or wild garlic. It is an early spring vegetable and has a strong garlic or onion flavor. I didn't think to take a close up picture of just one ramp, but this photo shows how the plants have broad, smooth green leaves. (It reminds me of  lily of the vally.) Once the plant is pulled up, it has a white stalk and scallion-like bulb. After doing some research I found that both the white stalk and the green leaves can be eatten.

As I was harvesting the ramps, I thought it would be good to have some wild ramps growing in the forest behind our house. When I suggested it to my son, he was delighted at the thought of "FINALLY being able to plant something". We dug quite a few ramps that had all the roots still attached to the bulb and we will see how they transplant. 

After reading up about ramps, I found out that in Quebec wild ramps are a threatened species and people are limited to harvesting just 50 plants or bulbs per year. Recently wild ramps have found a following in gourmet restaurants & local 'wild ramp festivals' have become popular. Unfortunately the new found popularity makes this plant at risk for being over-harvested. This makes me feel even better about trying to establish a patch of it in our woods!

Now to figure out what to do with the 2 buckets of ramps we brought home!


Foraging for snacks...not wild ramps!

~~~~~This link has a 'how-to directions' for harvesting ramps.

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