Foraging: Ramps

I'm curious about foraging and curious about what can be foraged in this region. I'm curious about what can be gathered and eaten. The CSA pushed me forward in this inquiry. In the first box of each season there is always a bunch of ramps. They have a distinctive scarlet color to the stems. After eating the CSA harvest, I started seeing ramps in the woodlands of Wisconsin. They are first bright shades of green in the spring, rising as they do from the blanket of decaying autumn leaves.





However, getting to them can be an unnerving experience. While there are ramps growing everywhere, there are also lots of wood ticks. So, after spending some time digging up ramps, I spend time searching for wood ticks on my body.




Ramps have a onion and garlic qualities. They are also referred to as wild baby leeks. I use them in stir frys and for salad dressings. I picked up this recipe from my local coop: Eastside Coop in Northeast Minneapolis.

Ramp Dressing:
1/3 c. walnut oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
5 ramps (white parts only)
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in blender.


The salad dressing is perfect over spinach, another item available early in the CSA season. The dressing is yummy, but makes me a little gassy. They have quite a strong garlic smell so if I store them in the refrigerator, the smell intensifies.

I just read that the appearance of ramps is an indicator for morel hunters. Yum. That sounds great to me. Ramps and morel mushrooms sauteed together! I just can't wait for this season!

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