My husband first introduced me to Ramps right after we started dating. Ray had grown up foraging for ramps with his dad, which to me was totally awesome. I was so excited when he took me to pick food growing in the wood as one of our first dates, not to mention I always loved trying new foods and I never even heard of a ramp!
Generally Ramps can be found from South Carolina all the way to Canada. In Appalachia Ramp hunting in the spring takes on a celebratory air. A few places have Ramp Festivals where you can try Ramps cooked in all sorts of dishes. Ramp Patches (like morel mushroom spots) are often kept top secret by the ones who know where they’re at.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of ramps, initially at least. Ray ate copious amounts of raw ramps every spring, it seemed like he had handfuls of ramps with every meal and even in between for weeks. I appreciated them and went digging ramps with joyful glee, but since I’ve never liked the taste of raw onions, the stronger onion/garlic flavor of raw ramps just wasn’t my thing. Occasionally, Ray would walk on the wild side and add some ramps to fried potatoes, that was more my style.
Over the years I started playing around with ramps in different recipes and dishes. 15 years since I tried a ramp for the first time, and I’m now completely RAMP OBSESSED!
I will occasionally nibble on few young spring raw ramps while we are digging them, but I most often enjoy mine creatively included in cooked dishes. I have even found magical ways to incorporate the beautiful greens in to a variety of dishes, including making them into pesto! Ramps have such an amazing flavor when cooked, again similar to a combination of onions/garlic/leek all wild and uncontrolled, but only better.
Ramps have been steadily gaining popularity and making appearances at farmers markets and even some speciality grocery stores. This very easy and delicious recipe for Wild & Wonderful Ramp Chowder is the perfect way to enjoy ramps, wether your new to ramps or even if you’ve been eating them your whole life.
Perhaps the one of the best aspects of this recipe is that it’s made with healthy, real foods that can be sourced from local farmers, naturally gluten-free, and easily adapted to be dairy free/vegan if desired.
Oh, and did I mention it’s DELICIOUS?! You’ll just love it.. I promise.
Wild & Wonderful Ramp Chowder
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat or other healthy cooking fat (butter, coconut oil, etc)
- 1 cup ramps roughly chopped, 1/2 cup bulbs & 1/2 cup greens
- 3 large russet potatoes peeled & diced, roughly 4 cups
- 4 cups Chicken Bone Broth or vegetable broth
- 1/8 teaspoon White Pepper
- Sea Salt to taste
- 2 cups Heavy Cream, A2 Pasture Raised
- 2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups coconut milk (canned)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- crumbled bacon
- shredded cheese
- ramp greens
- In a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, over medium heat saute ramps in bacon fat until soft.
- Add potatoes and chicken broth, simmer (covered) for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. (NOTE: taste your broth while heating and season with sea salt, ideally the liquid that the potatoes are cooking in should be well salted, perhaps a little tiny bit over salted)
- Reduce heat to low. Add heavy cream and shredded cheddar cheese, stir well to combine. Cook over low heat until every thing is well incorporated, do not boil.
- I prefer to let this soup sit for a little while, maybe 30 minutes to an hour then gently reheat before serving. The flavors deepen and it will thicken up a little more. If you prefer an even thicker soup, you can blend 1-2 cups of the soup in your blender until smooth then add it back into the pot.
- Feel to garnish individual bowls with toppings of your choice: bacon, shredded cheese & ramp greens are my favorite. Enjoy!