In Northern Ohio and many other places, April and early May is the time to go out into the woods and forage for Ramps, also known as wild leeks.
Walk 10 feet into any deciduous forest during this time and you are very likely to see these easily identifiable garlicky gems.
I love the ramps because when I can’t find Morel mushrooms, which is 95% of the time I am looking for them, the trusty Ramp is there for the picking.
Ramps tend to grow in patches and when you come across one, you no doubt will have all you need for one trip.
Take a look at the images to see what they look like and when you are sure you have found some, taste a tiny bit of the leaf, and if you detect a garlic / sweet onion green taste, you have a found ramps.
Try to pull up the entire plant, root and all if you can, but generally if I am just on a walk, I’ll settle for just the greens, which are delicious.
Once home, thoroughly wash and dry the ramps and chop some into your fresh raw salad.
Ramps can also be cooked just as you would prepare any other greens. Additionally, chop them up and saute with some onion and garlic and let them simmer in chicken broth for a few hours with some other root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets, or whatever else you like.
Once your soup has cooked for a while, transfer to a blender and carefully puree. Flavor with fresh herbs and spices and you will have a very strange but delicious treasure on your hands, if you like this sort of thing.
My wife came home and immediately asked, “why does our house smell crazy?”
“It’s ramp soup from the forest,” you may reply. Admittedly, this flavor is not for everyone, but if you love it, you will know right from the first taste of the fresh forest ramp.
Bonus: Also check around for some wild chives. We found some right in our yard.
Additionally, it is also a good time to collect some dandelions, often found on the edge of the forest. See our post on Eating Dandelions.