The wild ramp, AKA wild leek, botanical name Allium tricoccum, is a flowering perennial plant that grows in clusters. It is a member of the Allium family along with onions and leeks
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This item was last sold on : 02/11/20
When harvested young, the wild Ramp has delicate, broad lily of the valley-like leaves and a thin spindly scallion-like stalk which trails into an indistinct bulb. The leaves are green and the stalk may be white or pink, marketed with its edible roots attached. The Ramp has a piquant onion and garlic flavor with a woodsy, pungent aroma. The entire plant is edible, including the roots. The underground bulb will continue to grow out into the summer and fall and the leaves are replaced by flowers, then seeds. Aging seedstalks (known as the skeleton) contain tiny globular black seeds, which are the forager's indicator of where Ramps are located. The plant's bulbs are harvested into the fall and sold like garlic cloves.
Wild Ramps are available in the early spring.
The wild Ramp, AKA wild leek, botanical name Allium tricoccum, is a flowering perennial plant that grows in clusters. It is a member of the Allium family along with onions and leeks. All Alliums have underground bulbs which may produce aerial stems and each plant will bear flowers in various colors depending on species. It is one of the most important food plant families, containing at least 700 different species, though only a small percentage of the alliums are cultivated as a crop on an economically important scale.
Ramps are nutritionally valuable, containing high doses of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. Ramps also contain large amounts vitamin A, an essential nutrient for the development of teeth, bones and skin in growing children. Like its cousins the leek and onions, Ramps are also a good source of the mineral chromium which is known to help metabolize fats. Ramps have the trace mineral selenium, which has been found to potentially reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
The wild Ramp is considered a culinary delicacy and should be treated as such. Its delicate shape and texture is met with bold flavors, making it a versatile allium in dishes both fresh and cooked. Ramps can be thinly sliced and served raw in salads or as a finishing garnish. Some of their best flavor profiles come out, though, when they are briefly sautéed or slow roasted. Their best culinary companions are other spring plants such as morels, chanterelles, sweet peas, young lettuces, brassicas, radishes and citrus. Ramps can be added to vinaigrettes, cream based sauces, soups, pastas, pizzas and risottos. They pair well with eggs, poultry, potatoes, shellfish and cheeses both hard and soft. Herbal companions include fennel, basil, mint and cilantro.
The seeds of wild Ramps take 6 to 18 months to germinate, and the plants take 5 to 7 years to produce seeds. Each time a Ramp is removed from the forest before it goes to seed, its life cycle ends. The late 20th Century surge in the Ramp's culinary popularity and thus, lucrative market, has left hundreds of acres of what used to be forest floors covered in Ramps during spring now void of the allium. Due to over-foraging and in an attempt to combat endangerment of the wild Ramp, the region of Quebec, Canada has listed the wild Ramp as a threatened species and since 1995, has also made it illegal to sell Ramps. Harvesting is limited to personal use: a maximum of 50 bulbs per person is permissible to harvest per year. It is also illegal to import them from other provinces.
Ramps are native to North America, growing wild in deciduous forests of upland Southestern and Northern United States west to the Dakotas as well Quebec, Canada. They can be found in cool, shady areas with damp, rich soil high in organic matter. New leaves emerge from the perennial bulb in early spring. By late May, the Ramp leaves begin to die back and an umbrella shaped flower stalk emerges. The flower blooms in June and the seeds mature atop a leafless stalk. If the plant is left to continue its lifecycle, its seeds will fall into the soil to germinate a new season of Ramps. Cultivation of Ramps is possible, though it would have to be done in a forest setting replicating the environment in which a wild Ramp lives. However, wild Ramps are not widely cultivated on a commercial scale. Ramps are an important part of the ecological system of a forest and sustainable harvesting methods are being enforced to protect the plant's future as well as the future of forest environments.
Recipes that include Ramps. One is easiest, three is harder.
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