Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ramps! Go and get them!

My dear readers, I hope you will forgive me for totally forgetting myself! The ramps are up! They're up in marshy woods now! Go! Go get them, if it's not so wet as to be impassable.

Ramps are a delicious wild leek that can be used and cooked like a scallion. I hope to pickle some this year. They grow in marshy woods (full shade) in clumps, so if you find one, you'll find a small field (or a large one, if you're lucky). Ramps are a vibrant true green. They have two leaves grwing out of a small, white bulb in the ground, which can either be pure white or with a purple skin. The leaves are smooth, with a single white or purplish vein down the center, and about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. If you see a plant that fits this description - a bright, deep green (not a light green), single vein, smooth leaves, grows in clusters, about 6 inches tall, tear off the leaf and smell it. If it smells like an onion, you've just met a ramp.

It's good practice to pick no more than half of a cluster, so that you can make sure there will be ramps in that same place next year. take a trowel for stubborn roots (you want to get the whole ramp - bulb and all) and a plastic bag or basket to toss them in. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge or in water like a bouquet (in or out of the fridge).

If you want to transplant ramps, dig up a small cluster of roots with some of the soil they're growing in (which is bound to be muddy), put in a small bucket or a plastic bag, and transplant as soon as possible, making sure to keep roots covered and moist. Transplant to a full-shade location that gets plenty of moisture (outside your kitchen is ideal - ramps taste delicious in omlets!)

They'll be up for the next few weeks, so go and get them!

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