Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Photo Collage - Ramps
Robert has been putting together some photo collages with the extensive library of photographs he has taken over the last few years. In April, we look forward to the ramps (Allium tricoccum) poking up their leaves through the forest floor. Ramps are fairly common here in southeastern Connecticut, and we gather the leaves from several large patches. We don't usually bother to dig the bulbs, since that will kill the entire plant and ramps are slow to reproduce. Four years ago, we transplanted 12 bulbs into a patch of dirt outside our back door, and today 12 plants still come up. The bulbs have not yet divided to produce new plants, and all of our attempts to germinate ramps from seeds have failed.
It is the green leaves that we do almost all of our cooking with. They are tender and easy to cut into thin slices for recipes, and sometimes large enough to stuff like cabbage leaves. The flavor of ramps is a funky onion and garlic blend. We add them to biscuit and bagel recipes, soups, any mixed vegetable stir-fry, and make a pungent pesto from the raw leaves. I mixed some chopped leaves into softened cream cheese to spread over toast in the morning with a side of scrambled eggs and sauteed ramps.Our spring favorite is a Chinese-style pancake filled with ramps. The chopped greens store well in the freezer if packed tightly into a container, and we have successfully dehydrated and powdered the leaves to add to pasta dough.