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Rampin’ It Up

Submitted by: wvhomecanner on April 17, 2011
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Rampin' It Up

It’s ramp season in WV – Spring!


Suzanne is cultivating ramps on the farm, but most of us have to count on ramp-digging ramp aficionados to sell us these wonderfully stinky wild leeks. It’s common to see hand-lettered signs with the simple word “RAMPS” propped on the …




It’s ramp season in WV – Spring!

Suzanne is cultivating ramps on the farm, but most of us have to count on ramp-digging ramp aficionados to sell us these wonderfully stinky wild leeks. It’s common to see hand-lettered signs with the simple word “RAMPS” propped on the windshield of a car or truck alongside two lane roads. Prices may vary a bit, but every sign means plastic baggies stuffed with ramps for sale or ‘bunches’ fastened with rubber bands. If you’re really lucky, they might even have the mud washed away!

Ramp ‘feeds’ used to be held in many locations in April. They still happen in some areas, but the lack of volunteers needed for the intensive work involved in preparing bushels and bushels of ramps for chopping and for cooking ended some of these events. A ramp feed is (usually) an all-you-can-eat meal for one price. The common menu? Soup beans (navy, great northern or pinto), cornbread, fried potatoes with and without chopped ramps, bacon, applesauce, and ramp salad. Homemade desserts and sweet tea to top it off. All of this served family-style in big bowls on the table that miraculously are refilled in the blink of an eye.

Attending ramp feeds led to my love of ramps and cooking them at home. On a smaller scale, preparing and cooking ramps is of course, much simpler than the methods I discovered at ramp feeds. At one local ramp feed, a fire department collects used washing machines that are still functioning to wash, rinse and spin dry armloads of ramps at a time. I can use my sink!

I soak the ramps to loosen the soil clinging to the roots (if they are really muddy, I do this outside in a bucket, first).


Rinse several times until the water is clear.


Cut off the root ends like you would do with green onions.


Parboil the ramps in water for 15 minutes or so until the bulbs are tender.


While the ramps parboil, fry up some bacon (ends and pieces work well).


Drain away most of the bacon grease from the pan, leaving a few spoonfuls behind with the bacon pieces. Drain the ramps well. Add the drained ramps to the pan with the bacon and saute the ramps until they are as tender as you like. The moisture from the ramps will loosen all the yummy bits from the bacon pan. Oh my.


Serve as you would any greens – I love to drizzle apple cider vinegar over mine.


Delicious greens with a garlic and onion flavor. Well sorta. It’s hard to describe but DELICIOUS!

Ramp salad is easy and my true favorite. Just add thinly sliced raw ramps to lettuce and dress lightly with a sweet oil and vinegar dressing. KILLER!

And ummm, yeah I usually eat ramps on Fridays.

When it’s warm enough to open a couple of windows.

When I don’t have to go anywhere all weekend.

Get the handy print page and save this to your recipe box here:
Sauteed Ramps.

See more Ramp Recipes!

You can also find Dede at Yahoo’s Canning2 Group.

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12 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 4-17

    The ramps look amazing. So what time can I come to eat on friday! Thanks for sharing.
    Granny Trace

  2. 4-17

    That looks delicious. No ramps here in MN, though. In fact, it snowed yesterday. Maybe leeks can be a stand-in?

  3. 4-17

    I can’t wait to get me some!! if it don’t rain maybe today!!

  4. 4-17

    I had never heard of ramps before but now I would love to try them! Your remark about having them on Friday made me laugh out loud…what a great way to start a Sunday!

  5. 4-17

    Leeks and green onions are ‘recommended’ as subs for ramps in recipes, but I think it would take some of both and some garlic to come close.
    Eating cooked ramps is not tooooo bad Debbie LOL – it’s the raw ones that tend to linger…..
    Those will literally exude from perspiration a day or two later 🙂

  6. 4-17

    Yeah, from what I’ve read, you’ll be quite “aromatic” for days after eating them. Are they really that good? Sounds kinda scary to me.

    • 4-17

      Launi, they’re really good, but that’s not true re being aromatic for days. That is said a lot about ramps, but I don’t find it to be true. It’s a myth that is kind of part of the mystique and legend of ramps, LOL. They are like a strong garlic.

  7. 4-17

    I have heard and read about ramps for years. I am glad you posted the photo in case I ever come across some. Very good article.

  8. 4-17

    Oh I am so looking forward to ramps when our local farmers market opens in two weeks!

    What I really like to do with the bulbs is put them in a little sauce pan and cover them with olive oil. Then cook them very very slowly until they finally become golden. It takes about 20 minutes. They become very soft and quite sweet. A great accompaniment to roast meat or chicken!

  9. 4-17

    Yum, AnnieB!
    And ramp “stank” is not a myth. Exaggerated perhaps, but not myth for sure. It’s about eating raw ramps, not cooked ramps. It used to be common for kids to be sent home from school because they ate ramps for dinner the previous night until the schools figured out that some kids were eating them ON the way to school on purpose LOL. Then they went into study halls w/other ramp eating kids. I don’t know how the rural schools handle that now. I found out first-hand about the lingering or repetitive effect of ramps a couple of decades ago. Went to a ramp feed on a Sunday afternoon and I ate a double helping of ramp salad and not much else. SO GOOD! Went to work on Monday and Tuesday in the office. No problem. Tuesday evening I went to an aerobics class with 3 friends. Good friends, luckily 🙂
    15 or 20 minutes into the workout, two of them said RAMPS – Dede, did you eat RAMPS?
    Yep, ramp aroma will come out well after consumption LOL. Old-timers often called ramps “Spring Tonic” because it was believed that if the ramp odor “came out” with perspiration, the system was being cleansed. Lots of people still believe that eating raw ramps is a necessary Spring health ritual. They pile sandwiches with raw ramps, chop raw ramps into a bowl of beans. I do think that it varies from person to person – may have something to do with body chemistry (or may be because if everyone around you eats ramps too, no one notices anyone else smelling like ramps – same w/garlic!)

  10. 4-18

    Do ramps grow in Florida? I have a trick with green onions, when you clean them and cut off the root part you can plant the root part and it will grow a new onion. Do you think this would work with ramps? It could help you spread ramps all over your property.

  11. 4-18

    Tami, I think ramps grow naturally from the lower Carolinas and all the way up into Canada, but not in warmer climates. Suzanne is working on her ramp patches doing just what you mentioned and they are looking great from the pics

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