It’s spring and time for some wild greens. I’ll admit that I’m cheating a little on the wild greens a bit because I have just watched the last bit of snow melt in my back yard and the greens aren’t up yet in my favorite patch of woods so I reverted to my freezer where I have two large packages of Allium Tricoccum stashed away from a trip to West Virginia last year when I was there turkey hunting with my nephews.
OK, OK, what I’m talking about is a native plant akin to the Lilly and Onion family or wild leek as it were. The native West Virginians call them, ‘Ramps’ or short for Rampions and Richwood, West Virginia is the Ramp Capitol of the World. Every year they hold a Ramp Festival and they offer up Ramps in all forms of a “delicious manner” as my mother used to say. They sell them canned, raw, fried, pickled, or as greens with vinegar and hard boiled eggs. They even offer up a Ramp wine.
They are delicious and to tell you the truth they make your breath stink like you’ve eaten a combination of extra strong onions and some very powerful garlic all at the same time. You will also notice a garlic like stench in your perspiration for several days after eating them so change your underwear often.
I’m not sure if there are any wild Ramps in Indiana but if I were to take a guess I would say there probably are some in the southern hills or maybe around Brown County. They like mountains for some reason or other. So in case you run into someone along the side of the road selling ramps by the bushel you might want to stop and check them out. A lot of people in West Virginia gather (dig) ramps in the spring and sell them to help support their families. Several IGA and Foodland stores back there stock them in their produce section during the short season.
In case you can’t find any ramps you might want to substitute some small green onions in this next ‘wild’ recipe.
RAMP BURGERS ALA RAY
2 lbs. plain ground venison or deerburger (no pork or sausage added)
1 envelope of onion soup mix
Pepper to taste (no salt as there is plenty in the onion soup mix)
1 cup to a cup and a half of chopped ramps or green onion
Olive oil enough to just coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet
Mix all ingredients together and divide into 1/4 lb. balls. Flatten each ball between two saucers covered with plastic wrap (for easy removal) to about the size of the saucers. Fry the 1/4-pounders in a small amount of olive oil until they are just pink in the center. Fry up all of the patties and put them in a 9 X 13 inch bread pan with a cover and put the pan in a warm oven to ‘season’ as I call it.
Now prepare the rest of the meal of say chips, baked beans, and maybe corn on the cob and while you’re at it, toast the buns.
When the rest of the meal is ready, take the patties out and serve them on the toasted buns with your favorite condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, horsey sauce, sliced onion, pickle chips, lettuce, sliced tomato, and cheese slices. This recipe should make eight servings or feed two hungry Boy Scouts.
If you would like more information on Ramps contact Glen Facemire, Jr. in Richwood, WV 26261. I don’t think you need a street address as I think Glen is or was the Postmaster and Richwood isn’t all that big. Ask him about his book “RAMPS” From The Seed To The Weed and I think he also has a recipe booklet for sale called, Ramps and Ramp Cookin’. You might want to look up this website I found kingofstink.com.