WHAT IS A RAMP?
These wild onions are native to North America and are also known as wild leeks or ransoms. Often described as tasting like a mix of garlic and onion, they’re only in season for a few weeks each Spring. They have 1 to 2 broad, green leaves and can grow up to a foot in height. Connoisseurs will only harvest 1 of the 2 leaves so that the remaining bulb can continue to grow. Due to this plant’s preference for high altitudes and low levels of light, most ramps are harvested wild to this day.
WHY ARE RAMPS GOOD FOR YOU?
They are rich in Vitamin C, and were used by settlers after a long, grueling winter to restore this crucial vitamin and hopefully avoid scurvy (it wasn’t just a problem for pirates). Like their cousin garlic, they’re rich in allium and kaempferol (a.k.a. heart healthy)! Ramps are also rich in iron, antioxidants and folate.
WHEN ARE RAMPS IN SEASON?
Only for 1 month each Spring; they’re not available on an industrial scale.
HOW SHOULD RAMPS BE STORED?
Freezing the roots (remove the greens first) is your best option. Don’t freeze bulbs in contact with each other, they’ll stick together. Store them, frozen, in an airtight container and they should keep for 3 to 6 months. The greens don’t really keep at all, so bon appetite! You can also refrigerate the bulbs, but they’ll only keep in their ideal state for just under a week.
WHERE IS THE RAMP CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?
When you’re thinking of vacation get aways, West Virginia with its poverty and coal mining history doesn’t immediately come to mind. But the annual ramp festival in Richwood, West Virginia has become endearingly popular. In keeping with their tough reputation, this festival starts with a 10 kilometer race.