Ramping a West Virginia Tradition


Hello, Wild and Wonderful readers,

My name is Christine Zurbuch and I am one WWLSC’s Brand Ambassador’s! I love sitting by a crackling fire with a cup of coffee in my hand after a long night’s rest under the stars. West Virginia has and always will be my home. If you want more information about the blogs I’ve written or have a request for a future blog you can message me on Instagram @christinezurbuch

Ramp season is my favorite picking season other than summer berry season.  Ever since I was a little kid I have enjoyed climbing onto the banks of the creek behind my cabin to dig for ramps.  While these little onions do taste delicious, they are generally more difficult to get to. 

Ramps generally start sprouting out of the ground in mid to late March depending on the weather.  When ramps first start sprouting out of the ground the sprouts are purple in color and have no leaves.  Ramps are most pungent when they are young and their sprouts are purple.  As time goes on the ramps develop green long leaves.  Ramps grow in clumps generally on steep mountainsides.   My go to ramping tools are a walking stick, a small hand shovel, a small hand rake, and an onion sack.  Onion sacks are perfect for putting your ramps in because once you are done ramping you can place the sack in the current of a creek and mother nature will do a pretty good job of cleaning your ramps for you.

After your ramps are clean there are many different ways you can eat or preserve them.  My three favorite ways to use ramps are pickling ramps, ramp burgers, and potato ramp hash.  These three recipes are extremely easy to cook and are perfect ways to use your ramps.

Pickled Ramps

Pickled ramps make for a great snack. Generally recipes for pickling ramps are pretty straight forward you need vinegar, pickling season, and ramps.  This link will take you to my favorite pickling recipe.  I suggest that you let the ramps pickle for a minimum of a week before eating them.  The longer you let the jars sit the better the pickled ramps will be.

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pickled-ramps

Ramp Burgers

Ramp burgers are always a staple in my hometown during ramp season.  My friend's butcher shop buys pounds and pounds of ramps to incorporate into their hamburger meat to sell to local restaurants.  This recipe is extremely simple just add some lightly chopped ramps into the ground beef and whala there is your ramp burger patty.  However for a little extra flavor I like to add half a packet of the Hidden Valley Ranch Mix to my ground beef to give it an extra kick of flavor.

Potato Ramp Hash

This recipe is another very simple dish however it is still full of flavor! You will need 3-4 baked potatoes, ramps, bacon, cheddar cheese, and two eggs.  Lightly chop the baked potatoes, bacon, and ramps.  Then mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and pour the contents into a cast-iron skillet.  Place your skillet in a 365 degree over and let it bake for around 25 minutes.