Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ramps, the Sweet Scent of Spring

Spring has become my favorite season of the year.  It used to be summer, when everything was already green and lush and bountiful.  However, over the last couple of years I have come to appreciate the anticipation of summer, the first small signs that winter is ending.  The first of the local produce that starts popping up elates me and with the co-op I'm getting the freshest and localest produce around. 

And what I've been doing this spring is going crazy for ramps.  This is the first year I have ever bought and prepared my own ramps.  They are a funny creature, kind of a blend between a green onion and garlic with a good measure of earthy funk thrown in. 

They stink when they're raw.  I highly suggest buying them immediately before consuming.  I can't imagine what they would do if left in your refrigerator overnight.  They stunk up the car with just a 20 minute side trip.

But cooked they are amazing.  I've been sauteeing both the bulbs and the greens and mixing them into an isaeli couscous as well as having them bulked up with some sauteed spinach greens.  And I just finished my first ramp pickling (just a refrigerator pickle, I haven't delved into the hot water canning yet). 

Maybe it's because Chicago really seems to be giving us a spring this year.  Maybe it's my 4 day work week.  Maybe it's that my condo is really at its best during these in between seasons, not too hot, not too cold, but front and back porches open with a slight breeze blowing through.  But I've been happier the last month than I've been in a long time.  It has a lot to do with taking pleasure from even the smallest things.  Like ramps.

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