Ramps are wild garlic, or more specifically wild leeks. They can also be called spring onion, ramson or wood leek depending on where you live in the world.
I’m not in Canada this spring. Although I hate winter it is followed by my favourite food season as I love to forage edible plants.
Over the years ramp season became one of my favourite times of year and I shared many of Dave’s recipes. Although the relationship is over, and I won’t be eating any ramps this year, I did want to share a ramps recipe that we served from our old pop-up restaurant Loka Snacks.
How to clean ramps (wild garlic)
First you need to clean them thoroughly. I learned the tough way that it’s best to cut the roots onsite, otherwise you’ll bring home an extra 6 pounds of dirt.
While foraging is amazing because the food is essentially free, you do spend extra time cleaning them. Fourteen pounds of ramps and a couple pounds of small field wild garlic can easily lead to a few hours of cleaning.
Like their cousin, the regular leek, there is a lot of soil in the plant and so soaking them first in water works best. If you’re not in a restaurant with a two-step sink just set up two or three buckets in your backyard to soak and rinse. I wouldn’t recommend cleaning leeks this in your kitchen as it can get quite messy.
While I also love the charred ramp pesto recipe at home, ramps are nature’s ultimate onion ring.
The wild garlic onion flavour works well in a beer battered ramp recipe. Both the green leaves and the ramp stalks are edible so you can fry the entire thing whole.
The beer batter gives a great crust on the outside, texture and crunch. Super creamy, oniony flavour and cuts the potent onion garlic flavour in the ramp.