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Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)

Kent Davis 18 Apr 09 - 04:27 PM
catspaw49 18 Apr 09 - 05:02 PM
Sorcha 18 Apr 09 - 05:17 PM
greg stephens 18 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM
Kent Davis 18 Apr 09 - 08:05 PM
Bob the Postman 18 Apr 09 - 09:06 PM
CarolC 18 Apr 09 - 09:25 PM
greg stephens 19 Apr 09 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 19 Apr 09 - 01:01 PM
Padre 19 Apr 09 - 10:39 PM
VirginiaTam 20 Apr 09 - 03:51 AM
Marje 20 Apr 09 - 04:12 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Kent Davis
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 04:27 PM

Surely something as tasty and smelly must have inspired a song or a superstition or a story or something, but I don't know of any. Anyone else know of any?

For those who've never enjoyed their taste, or endured their smell, here are some links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_tricoccum and http://www.richwoodwv.com/ramp.asp .

I planted a huge patch, and not a single ramp came up. Then I found an even larger wild patch already thriving in our woods. They are ready for eating. The eldest sold some today at the Marietta (Ohio) Farmer's Market and we had a mess last night. Delicious, but you wouldn't want to sit too close to us.

Kent


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 05:02 PM

The key to enjoying ramps is to have EVERYONE eat ramps.......Otherwise you can gag on the very air you breathe! They don't seem to be as abundant here in Ohio as they are further south alythough we do have a lot of them. If they were more prolific, Ohio would have a "Ramp Festival"..........gawd knows we have fests for everything else from Clay to Soybeans and Zucchini.

I never was around them much as a kid but they got served up some every year at my Grandmother's......an old country woman. But I was really educated when I went home with a college friend to Waynesville, North Carolina for the Ramp Fest there. The taste is pretty good if you can past the SMELL!!!!   First thing we did was eat some fried taters and ramps and the stench mysteriously went away.

Anyway, here are a few fun facts about ramps.....

Facts:

In the Appalachian ramps have a stinky reputation

Throughout the Appalachian mountain ramps are hailed with feasting at ramp suppers, dinners and festivals.

Ramps grow wild throughout the Blue Ridge, Great Smokey Mountains and Appalachian mountains.

Cooked ramps emit an obnoxious odor.

They make an onion or strong garlic seem mild.

Both the white root and the broad green leaves are edible.

Whole towns in the Appalachia get together and Fried up a mess of wild leeks or ramps.

Appalachians mountain folks treated insect bites with juice from the wild ramps or leeks.

When it comes to whipping up something fast for breakfast, wild ramps or leeks.

Spring cooking and ramps can be lots of fun if you make good choices.




Spaw


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 05:17 PM

I've never tasted them but I'd LOVE to! The hell with the smell!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM

Is this what we call wild garlic in England? Or perhaps ramsons? I eat ours in omelettes.We've got some down by the trees, they are just about to flower now.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Kent Davis
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 08:05 PM

Ramps are similar to English ramsons. Some people use the terms interchangably. For example, the ramp festival in Richwood, West Virginia, is sometimes called "The Feast of the Ramson" http://www.richwooders.com/ramp/ramps.htm. The English species is Allium ursinum; the North American species is Allium tricoccum.

Kent


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 09:06 PM

Ramps figure in an anecdote in Vance Randolph's book "Pissing In The Snow & Other Ozark Folktales". A foully flatulent man consults his doctor, producing a sample which empties the waiting room. The doctor advises a diet of foods such as ramps and gorgonzola.

"Will that cure my farts, Doc?"

"No, but at least it'll help mask that terrible smell."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 09:25 PM

In the US they're also called "wild leek" (not wild garlic).

mmmmmmm ramps mmmmmmmm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 12:12 PM

I think the English ramson/wild garlic must be milder than the American ones being discussed here. Or Americans may have more delicate sense of smell? Because the English stuff certainly smells and tastes of garlic, but in no way offensively.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 01:01 PM

The only English tradition I know about Ransomes is that they're the one wild flower available at the time of Castleton Garland Ceremony that the Garland makers will never put into the bunches of flowers that cover the Garland frame.

Sitting with your head in a very small space surrounded by strong-smelling wild garlic is, the Garland makers reckon, too much to ask of the Garland King.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Padre
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 10:39 PM

Back about 1962, according to old mountain legend, Jim Comstock, the publisher of the "West Virginia Hillbilly", (a newspaper published in Richwood, WV), mixed ramp juice in the ink with which the paper was printed. The paper had a number of subscribers in Washington, DC, and when those papers were taken to the local post office for mailing, the postmaster refused to allow them to go through the mails.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 03:51 AM

Gawd! Olfactory blast from the past. When my 1st husband and I lived in West Virginia we were given a sack of ramps and several freshly caught trout by a friend.

At the time we lived in married student accommodation at a college (the kitchen lounge diner all one room). I fried up the fish and the ramps went in with poatoes in a separate iron skillet.   Yes it all tasted fantastic.

One tip. Do not cook ramps in a room with soft furnishings. The sofa and arm chair and braid rug had to be taken out and left in sun for a day to get the stink out. I kept spraying lemon air freshener on them as well.

That was 34 years ago. Nice trip down memory lane.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ramps (wild leeks)
From: Marje
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 04:12 AM

In the south-west of England there's a similar plant known as the Cornish Leek or Tricorn Leek - it has flowers like large snowdrops, and the leaves are long and thin, and triangular in cross-section. I don't think either of the British native plants is quite the same as "ramps", though. Our wild garlic (ramsons) are quite mild in flavour and aroma, and although the Cornish leek can probably be eaten too, it's not noticably smelly when it's growing, so I don't think it's very strong either.

Marje


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