Dehydrated ramps, also known as wild leeks, are part of the onion family and have a garlicky oniony taste. The growing season like most wild plants is short in the ever changing Carolinian forest floor here on Six Nations; so in order to preserve this amazing taste for year round use I decided to dehydrate my own.
When foraging for fresh ramps its important to dig down to the bulb (which is just like a green onion in size). Break the bulb just above the root system and be sure to leave the roots & base intact to continue the life of the plant. As with all foraging, there is the rule of forage; which is to take only what you need and use what you take! In Haudenosaunee culture we are taught to select every third flower, leaf, root, etc., for picking, to ensure we leave enough to grow. I was never fortunate to have ramps near my home, and this year I transplanted some plants by taking their root system & bulbs and transferring them to a new patch home near my house!
After washing the ramps thoroughly I separated them into 4 parts. First remove the roots and second, the tops of the bulbs. The third cut is the stem and the fourth the leaves. I chose to do it this way as with previous experience dehydrating these parts would take different amounts of time to dry.
In dehydrating, I found the stems took the longest at about 12 hours. Once dried, I stored the ramps in glass jars, separated into cuts. Eventually you can can use them ground as a spice or put into rubs or ramp salt!! In the meantime I save them as whole pieces and only grind when needed to ensure they retain maximum flavour.
Dried ramps can be added whole leaf on to soups or in a roast or in braising any game meat. Ground Ramp spice can be put in to soups, chili, spice rubs or anything that you would use onion powder for.
Ramps are also delicious fresh and can be used anyway you would use scallions (green onion). They also make a perfect ingredient for fresh pesto. Ramps, dandelion & pinenuts with sunflower oil is an amazing pesto over fish!