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Ramps: a Delicious and Healthy Wild Plant Hiding Out in the Forest Floor

This image shows the vegetable, Ramps. A Delicious and Healthy Wild Plant Hiding Out in the Forest Floor

Spring is the time of year when foragers head to the dense forests of Northeast America in search of ramps, also known as wild leeks. As the weather warms the soil in late March or April, depending on the climate, you will see vibrant emerald green leaves pushing through rich organic soil towards the light.

The taste of wild ramps is similar to both garlic and onion and provides a potent taste that makes a great addition to salads, stews, soups, and stir-fries, just to name a few. Chefs love them for their versatility. The entire plant is edible and can be eaten raw, baked, pickled, sauteed, or roasted.

But there are even more reasons to love ramps. They have an incredibly high nutritional content. 

  • Rich in nutrients: Vitamin K1, Provitamin A carotenoids, Vitamin C, and Manganese
  • Contain small amounts of fiber, copper, vitamin B6, iron, and folate.
  • High in antioxidants.
  • They are believed to reduce inflammation and heart disease.
  • Low in calories.
  • Contain cancer-fighting compounds
  • Great for gut health: soluble fiber, including prebiotics

The plants are ready to harvest when their leaves reach 6 to 8 inches. Gently dig up a clump, removing some bulbs, but be careful to leave some to allow for them to propagate for the coming years.

If you are looking for some delicious ways to cook using ramps, Food & Wine offers 16 tempting recipes by chefs that are sure to get your mouth watering.

If you do not want to trek into the forest, The Village of Peninsula is hosting RAMP GRAB-N-GO on April 23, April 30, and May 7, 2022. Vendors will be selling prepared foods such as ramps, sauces, and more. You can also purchase freshly harvested ramps.

If this is your first time foraging for ramps, YouTube has a great video on How to Find and Identify Wilds Leeks (Ramps) to help make your trek successful.

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