Ramps and fiddleheads — the unicorns of spring vegetables


Related Articles

No, we’re not being dramatic. A little bit weird, yes, but definitely not dramatic. Ramps and fiddleheads are both as magical in taste and rare as our favorite horned horses.

Last month, we wrote about spring produce, but decided to pull two of this season’s hottest vegetables out of the list and into their own story. After all, morel mushrooms, rhubarb and artichokes already have annual festivals. So what’s making foodies freak out over these two spring vegetables? Let’s find out:

What the ramp?

Ramps are a pungent leafy-top vegetable with an edible bulb. They taste as if a wild onion and garlic had a lovechild. What partially makes people go nuts for ramps, which also are called wild leeks or Allium tricoccum, is their nutritional benefit and natural flavor. They contain high amounts of vitamins A and C; selenium, an antioxidant; and chromium, which aids the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and insulin. They're also a rarity. Foragers are cautioned not to overpick ramps and eat quickly, as they spoil fast. Those doing the grocery shopping will be hard-up to find ramps, or pay a pretty penny to get them.

How to eat them: Braise or pickle your ramps, and pair them with pasta, chicken, beef or soft shell crabs. Pair them with other spring vegetables to give your dish the biggest bang.

Fiddle me this

Fiddleheads, curled up green ostrich ferns, are known for their appearance. They boast high amounts of vitamins A and C, along with potassium. They look like the head of a violin, hence their namesake. Like ramps, fiddleheads are a commonly foraged vegetable.

How to eat them: Pair them with a spring salad, halibut or gnocchi for a zesty dish that’s sure to please.

Try this recipe for sautéed fiddleheads, then tell us what you think below.