Ramp season is here and then gone just as quickly! The enigma of Ramps is confounding to many a person not born and raised in the Appalachians....firstly, what IS a Ramp...then, what to DO with Ramps?
Local "old-timers" like to tell me the tale of how as children they'd eat these pungent roots raw, a surefire method to get the teacher to expel you (and your offensive odor) from school early. While I'm skeptical of how many mischievous boys successfully pulled off that tactic, it does help you appreciate the "aromatic" quality of these natural novelties.
So what to DO with a Ramp? While most folks won't recommend eating them raw, when added to a stir fry, a pan of collards, or pickled for later use, you are in for a potent blast of savory flavor. We bring armloads of these pungent veggies into our kitchen and pickle the roots & chopped leaves to preserve their flavor to enjoy the year over. Once preserved in vinegar the pungent nature mellows, and creates a perfect condiment for topping sandwiches, burgers, eggs, roast meats or grits. The brine absorbs a lot of flavor from the ramps, creating a perfect marinating brine for chicken or addition to cocktails like a spicy Bloody Mary.
Recently we discovered a local seventh generation farm, Crooked Creek Mills, still stone grinding heirloom grains the old fashioned way. Their organic corn is hand selected and ground on the farm's own grist mill to create truly pure, natural and tasty corn grits.
We began experimenting with combinations in the kitchen and discovered both our Pickled Ramps, and Oven Roasted Tomato Jam with Garlic & Herbs make incredible toppings on crispy fried grit cakes with Parmesan Cheese. The grit cakes keep a bit of creamy texture in the middle and a toasted crisp outside when pan fried in butter. These make an incredible Southern appetizer, or fancy up your breakfast served beside your morning eggs.
Want to try this tasty Southern combo for yourself? Find the recipe below and check out our latest Recipe Card Gift Box Collection for this and other favorite combinations of products packed with beautifully crafted recipe cards--ready to inspire you and all your food loving friends in the kitchen!