Allium Tricoccum - The Ramps Are Up!
There is a small window of opportunity here each spring, to harvest the elusive ramps, or wild leeks that grow in the woods behind my house. Yesterday was a prime picking day!
Ramps look a little like Lilies of the Valley, but you will know what they are the minute you dig one up. The garlicy onion fragrance is punguent and unmistakable. Ramps are difficult to propagate and are considered a rare plant in some regions. Never pick them from public parks!
(Or from my yard, without asking first!) I usually find them growing in the dead leaves near the base of trees. We have soil that's full of clay in our area. Guess the ramps like that.
The entire plant is edible. I chopped my bunch into fine pieces. Sauteed the white portion with a little butter, olive oil and kosher salt. Then added the chopped greens just at the end. The browned onions were then added to cooked rice and mushrooms. A delicious side dish.
Eat them raw and you'll have bad breath for a week!
But it's so worth it.