In Southern Ontario in late April and early May wild ramps can be found in many wooded areas and some farmer’s markets. These are a great seasonal treat of local fresh greens which is very welcome after a long winter. Ramps have a mild onion flavour which is delicious as a sauteed green.
When foraging for ramps you do need to be careful to clearly identify them as wild ramps. A common look-a-like in Southern Ontario is the perennial flower lily of the valley. The mild onion smell of a ramp is the key identifier.
We need to be sure that ramps are sustainably harvested so they continue to produce. This means being careful about how we harvest and how many we take. The best option is to take a leaf or two from each ramp to allow it to continue to grow. The next best option is to take just the top of the ramp leaving the bulb in the ground. Ramps are slow to reproduce and expand so we want to take a small amount of an overall patch.
My favourite way to enjoy them is simply sauteed with a little bit of oil and salt. They are a great side dish to so many things. Keep in mind that when greens wilt down they lose considerable volume so start with a fair amount. With their mild onion flavour, they can also be added to other dishes such as a pesto or quiche.
Sautéed Wild Ramps
- 1 bunch wild ramps
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Heat oil in a shallow pan over medium heat.
- Add cleaned ramps to the pan and stir frequently until ramps have just wilted. Remove from heat and serve.