Tips for Ramp Hunting in the Hudson Valley
Warning: Be cautious when foraging. Plants like ramps can have poisonous doppelgangers. For ramps, these poisonous lookalikes include false hellebore and Lilly of the Valley. Do thorough research before consuming foraged plants.
April is the time of year in the Hudson Valley where two-legged foragers emerge from their winter habitats to head out into the woods to find the delicate green leaves that hold their secrets below the earth.
What the heck am I talking about? Wild ramp season. The Latin name (because horticulturists love it when you know the 'real name') is Allium tricoccum. If you are a fan or have ever grown onions, you might recognize the Allium part of the word to show that these tasty nuggets are a part of the garlic and onion family.
One of the reasons that photos of these things might be filling up your instagram or facebook feeds, the joy that foragers get from seeing these little bundles of green popping out of the Earth. That sign of green as you are walking through the woods or taking a hike, that green means that warmer days and harvests are coming, one only has to pause and take a look around to find these little guys.
Are you a person that has hunted for them before? Are you willing to give up a location (yes, I know that these are sometimes TOP SECRET locations) of where someone might find some of these morsels?
Yeah, I didn't think so. To be honest, I have spoken with people who are happy to tell me they have found ramps, to show them to me and to even share a meal with me featuring the said ramps in question. As of yet, I still do not have anyone's location for finding these gems.
If you are going to try to find these beauties, here are a few rules (or possibly it should be called code of conduct) as to how to go about doing it the right way.
- Do not, under any circumstances, take all of the ramps. You are supposed to leave some of them for someone else. When you actually come across these little lovelies, please limit yourself to no more than 1/3 of the plants you stumble upon.
- Do think about re-planting some of your crop. This can be done with clusters of the ramps or by waiting until the plant goes to seed. You will be doing your part to make sure that there will be more available in future years. You will be able to have your own private stash of ramps next year and someone else will be able to indulge in the joy of the forage.
- Also, when you are out harvesting, you might want to bring something to carry your harvest in, along with a small shovel. Keep in mind that you might want to wear old boots or shoes, because let's be real, ramps are not just hanging out in a clean dry spot. You are going to get some mud on you.
So. What do you do with your harvest bounty? Do you pickle them, use some now, freeze some? Make a pesto? Share your ideas, email brandi@943LiteFM.com.