Spring Foods & Food Memories

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I don’t even want to say that it’s spring yet because frankly it snowed yesterday.  As I woke up and opened our blinds I saw swirling, whirling flakes of white snow coming down.  At the end of April there is nothing more depressing than that sight.  This year we have bought into a CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm along with some friends, and even our farmer has said the crops could be a month behind schedule!  Oh, where oh where are you spring??

The one food that has been intriguing me deeply this spring is ramps.  Apparently I am onto something because when I posed the question “does anyone know where I can buy ramps in Wisconsin” I got back a lot of puzzled responses.  So I’ve done some digging.  Ramps are essentially a wild root, a mix between leeks, onions, and garlic scientifically known as Allium tricoccum. They grow in many parts of the Midwest and after seeing this picture.

I realized that by golly I’ve been yanking these things out of the ground since I was a child!  There was an interesting article on hubpages about Woodland Herbs that included the little tidbit that ramps are usually found in deciduous forests, near streams and usually near fiddleheads, trilliums, and morel mushrooms.  No kidding these are all things that are abundant in the Upper Midwest where I live.  This little delicacy that I’ve been searching for has been underfoot for my entire life!

If you decide to go on your own ramp hunt check out this post from Chickens in the Road on her adventure searching for ramps.  It looks so fun and I really hope I can get out and find some yet this spring.

Once dug up they look like this; from David Becker Huffington Post (click for full article)

So ramps are more pungent than onions, garlic or leeks so beware don’t gobble a bunch down if you’ve got a big date coming up – they will stick with you!  If you do come across these – I encourage you to try them out.  Simply cut the roots off, and scrub them clean.  You can even use at least the bottom parts of the green.  I hope to be scooping up some ramps to mix into a tajine.  Some other ideas;

A hearty dish of lentils with carmelized ramps

Chicken Tajine with Ramps, Green Olives and Smen

(for my recipes simply swap out the onions and garlic for ramps)

Potato and Ramp Soup

Have you ever eaten ramps before?  If so what did you think?

This post will be shared on Twitter under the hashtag #mmgood – Join us today for an all day chat about spring foods and memories.

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Amanda MouttakiSpring Foods & Food Memories

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