One of the first edible signs of spring, ramps are long, elegant wild onions that grow in dark shady areas and fade away around early June. No doubt you've seen them all over restaurant menus—roasted, perhaps, and arranged carefully on a pristine white plate as though they were made from gold.
What's all the fuss? Thanks to their relatively recent rise to culinary stardom--and the scarcity that comes from their short season, ramps are hot commodities. If you spot them at a farmer’s market, specialty store, or Whole Foods, stock up--and then store them in the fridge wrapped in damp paper towels and add them to dishes as you would scallions. With a flavor that's like a hybrid of onion and garlic, they add a robust flavor to any savory spring dish. And beyond their beauty, they're also high in Vitamins A and C, iron, and fiber.
But if you want a way to stretch ramp season out longer, a quick pickle in vinegar is all it takes to keep them into the summer and beyond. Just a few rules of thumb: when prepping them, be sure to wash ramps thoroughly. (As they grow, they poke up through the soil and trap dirt in their crevices.) And after pickling, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up two weeks, or, can them according to USDA guidelines and put them up to enjoy through the winter. This briny delicacy pairs especially well with juicy grilled meats because of all the added acid. Imagine a late summer grilled hot dog topped with ketchup, mustard, and chopped pickled ramps. Yes, please!
Follow our quick pickle recipe, substituting ramps for red onions: Quick Pickled Red Onions
Or check out some other variations we love: