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Ramps

March 29, 2013

rampaCould you smell it? The Wild Ramp had ramps in the store this week. Since we moved to this area, I have heard a lot about ramps. I’ve heard they are wonderfully delicious. That they are horrendously odorous. Some people look forward to them every year. So much so, that there are Ramp Festivals dedicated to this humble wild leek. Other people wouldn’t touch a ramp with a ten foot pole.

Last weekend in a conversation on Facebook, friends discussed the progress of the ramps in their woods. I thought, “We have woods!”  The weather was beautiful that Saturday, and we decided it was perfect for a walk a.k.a. ramp hunting. The walk was enjoyable, but we found no ramps.

We were looking for the broad leaves like those in the first picture. We didn’t know it was too early for that.

A couple days later, ramps showed up in the store. This is what they look like in the early season. I’ve never tried them. I do like strong flavors, and figured this was the perfect time to try this Appalachian tradition.

Baby Ramps

This recipe, Fried Eggs with Bacon and Ramps, is on The Wild Ramp Pinterest Board. I had all the ingredients readily available, and you can’t go wrong when bacon is involved right? I followed the recipe with minor alterations. I did hesitate where the recipe instructions say to add butter to the bacon grease before frying the eggs, but what is a little more fat when you have all the bacon grease right? Mainly, I altered the recipe to make more for this crew I feed daily, and I cooked the eggs with a lid because I am not a fan of runny yolks.

Frying pan of eggs

From the smell of the raw ramps, I really was expecting an overpowering taste in the dish. It was a strong flavor, but not overpowering at all. The flavor is unique, certainly among the flavors of onions and garlic, but ramps have a flavor all their own. I enjoyed it. The rest of the family tolerated it.

Eggs, Bacon and Ramps

I’ve been told that these young ramps are much less pungent than their mature counterparts. I’m looking forward to trying them later in the season, and hopefully finding them right in our own backyard.

Stephanie Appleton is a small farmer in the hills of West Virginia. Find more of her family’s adventures at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.

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