Thursday, April 28, 2011

Got Ramps?

We do!  Lots of them.  I've really been on a ramp kick the past couple of weeks and have been trying out some new ways to use them.

Ramps, ramsons, wild garlic, wild leek, spring onion...whatever you want to call them, I love 'em!  I'm just reclusive enough to not care too much if they are stinky.  LOL

If you've never had them before, I would describe them as having a sweet garlic flavor that kind of hangs around for a long time.  Maybe wait until the weekend to give them a try...

I cook with a lot of garlic and onions anyway, so their pungent, garlicky odor doesn't phase me. 

Members of the allium family are good for you!  They have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.  They're good for your heart health, help regulate blood glucose, are high in vitamin C and may even reduce your risk of cancer. 

Did you know that an irrational fear of garlic is called alliumphobia.  My mom has that...seriously. 

OK, before you all start to think I'm crazy, let me get on with the recipes.  Some of these are downright gourmet!

Save your root tips - plant your own patch!
My favorite way to eat them is fried up with bacon and potatoes, eggs on the side.  I've been tossing a few in omelets and wraps.  Slice some up and toss into your salad, accompanied by your favorite vinaigrette dressing.  They are often eaten as "spring tonic" greens, either sauteed in butter or doused with a little vinegar.  Most commonly, around here anyway, they are served up on the side with brown beans and cornbread.

If you don't have a secret patch of your own, tucked away in the Appalachian foothills, you'll often find them being sold by roadside or in your local farmer's market. 

I want to try all of these recipes I found, so I dug up a huge bag full.  They can also be frozen for later use if you happen to get tired of eating them every day for a month...

Last night I made Wild Garlic Focaccia.  I came across this recipe on Eat Weeds, which is a foraging blog from the UK.  They have ramps there too, but they call them ramsons.

This bread smells wonderful as it is baking.  I couldn't get past my awkward discomfort with the metric system and wasn't really confident in my conversions.  (Dry grams, liquid measure?  Who knows?)  So I just went with the general recipe for focaccia in my good ol' Betty Crocker cookbook, then prepared the topping as given in the Eat Weeds version of the recipe.  Rather than brushing my dough with the olive oil, I just tossed my sliced ramps in it and let them sit a bit while the dough was rising, then proceeded with the topping. 

The parmesan and the ramps go very well together.  Grated parmesan works well for this.  I didn't have any sea salt on hand, then forgot that I at least had kosher salt, but ended up using regular table salt instead.  This worked out fine too.

As I have time, probably on Friday, I am going to try Eat Weeds recipe for Pickled Wild Garlic.  Some other recipes that sounded good to me were Wild Garlic Pesto, Wild Garlic Soup and Wild Garlic Risotto - all found on another UK blog called Growing Wild.  I would have spent more time surfing, but unfortunately I've still got chickens to put up for the freezer!

If ramps aren't your thing, do go ahead and make the focaccia.  I promise you, you'll not regret it.  Other good toppings to try would be caramelized onions, olives or sauteed mushrooms.

Yellow Morel (Morchella Species)

Speaking of mushrooms, I did get back out to hunt morels this past Monday.  I should have been home doing any number of productive things, but the woods were calling to me and after last weekend's heavy rains, I just knew my yellow morels would have to be up.

I went by myself and spent about four hours hiking and listening to the sound of recent rainfall cascading down numerous rocky streams.  The day was sunny, but not too warm and the breeze was heavenly and fresh after the cleansing rains.  It was a very rejuvenating time and I thoroughly enjoyed my peace and quiet (having dropped my daughter off at Nana's earlier).  My husband was on a business trip for the day, so I didn't have to hurry at all.  It was such a nice day...and I really needed it!

I came home with 26 morels, almost all yellows.  Not a bad haul.  Some were quite big!  I like the yellows better than the blacks because they have more substance to them.  They don't fall apart in your mesh bag if you run them into too many multiflora briers.

Most of these are large enough that I can try out a stuffed morel recipe I've been holding on to for awhile.  It has cream cheese in it.  Perhaps I'll post that one too, if I do end up making it...


  1. Wow! Those are really impressive Morels! I have yet to find my first sadly, but we haven't had much rain here in scotland this spring so maybe that's partly to blame.
    Thanks for referencing my blog - chuffed!

  2. Thanks Mama Wild! We've had a deluge of rain this spring. They say this has been the best morel year since '03.

    I've really enjoyed your blog. Thanks for the recipes! :)