Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ampted About Ramps

Yesterday I went to the Bioladen (a.k.a. health food store) to pick up my weekly Gemüse Tüte (a.k.a. bag of local, organic produce). I went with every intention of canceling my bag for good.

I signed up for this service because I was interested in learning more about local produce and finding out what unique vegetables are grown in Germany. Instead, for the last couple of weeks I received nothing exciting, only non-blog worthy broccoli, leeks, and carrots grown in Italy and Spain.

While standing on line to cancel next week's vegetables I rummaged through the bag to see what was there. "Are those ramps?" I wondered. The mere through was enough to make me sign up for one more week.

Once home I had to look up the word Bärlauch, which was included on the list of contents to make sure I was right. Unlike ramps that I've purchased at the Greenmarket on New York, the ones in the bag only had the leaves; the bulbs were removed. But, sure enough I'd received a bag of wild garlic.

Also know as wild leeks, ramps are a member of the onion and garlic family. They are indigenous to North America, and commonly found in Appalachia. One of the first spring vegetables to appear in markets, ramps can replace garlic in most any recipes. Last night I threw the leaves into a stir-fry with tofu, broccoli, leeks, and carrots served over coconut rice.

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