Rabid For Ramps

By Amy Grant | March 15, 2022
Image by Cavan Images
by Amy Grant
March 15, 2022

My favorite spring veggie isn’t anything I grow. It is in fact something I forage. My favorite spot to gather this delicacy is top secret… as in if I told you, I’d have to kill you. 

Not to worry though. This ingredient is readily available to those willing to search for it, as long as you don’t live in Washington state. Yes, I live in this beautiful area, which means I must forage farther afield. I’ll give you a hint. We’re talking about ramps, aka wild leeks, which are found under the forest canopy comprised of beech, birch, sugar maple, poplar, buckeye, linden, hickory, and/or oak

I wish I could grow them, although then I wouldn’t get to have the adventure of hunting for them. Apparently, some folks in California have tried to cultivate them, but to no avail.  

What Are Ramps?

So why am I all fired up about ramps? Probably because they are one of the first edible green things to poke through the soil in the early spring, and also because they have a subtle, perfectly blended flavor of garlic/onion. Oh, and the trip I get to take to harvest them is an added bonus as well. 

Just what do I do with the ramps when I get them home? Everything. They make a delish ramp butter to melt on steak, they are sublime caramelized, a revelation sautéed with fried eggs, yummy with morels or really any kind of mushroom, and the piece de resistance: ramp and white cheddar grits! Ramp and white cheddar grits are delicious and comforting. You can use either quick cooking grits or not. Heck, you can even use polenta or cornmeal. 

How to Cook Ramps and White Cheddar Grits

Cut and sauté the ramps in butter until they are tender. Remove them from the pan. Cook the amount of grits you want according to the instructions. When the grits are done, thick and tender, remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, your sautéed ramps, minced garlic, grated white cheddar, and a bit of half/half or milk and heavy cream plus a dollop of butter to loosen things up. Devour.

Oh, and if you can’t go a-foraging, in a pinch, leeks are an acceptable substitute for ramps. After all, ramps are just wild leeks. 

This article was last updated on
Read more about Backyard Stories
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

Browse Dozens of Our FREE Gardening Guides Today

Whether your dream garden is a houseplant sanctuary, a bountiful vegetable garden, a pollinator paradise, a bright and bold flower bed, or a backyard oasis – Gardening Know How has the perfect gardening guide just for you.

Click the button below to access more than 3 dozen of our completely free and completely comprehensive guides to growing your dream garden.

Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!