This week, we're talking about all things related to ramps, why you should be using broccoli and cauliflower stems, and the types of packaging you should avoid at the grocery store. We've also included a roundup of a few of our favorite Memorial Day recipes, which, yes, is next weekend!
Seasonal ingredient of the week: Ramps
All about ramps + when they're in season
If this is your first time hearing of ramps, you're probably not alone. (I myself hadn't ever come across ramps until about 2 years ago!)
Ramps are a wild variety of onion - often referred to as a "wild leek". The entire plant is edible (bulbs, stem and leaves) and they taste like a cross between garlic and onion. Ramps have a very short growing season in Spring that lasts just a few weeks.
We're currently heading towards the end of ramp season (early June), so pick up a bunch at your local farmers market this weekend! (Make sure you get there early - due to their short growing season and limited supply, they sell out very quickly!)
How to use ramps
First things first: wash them well! Similar to leeks, ramps hold a lot of dirt. Give them a good rinse, then pat dry before using. If you're not using them right away, it's best to wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in an unclosed plastic (or reusable) bag in the refrigerator. Don't be surprised when you open your fridge to the smell of garlic - they're quite pungent!
Ramps can be used in a wide range of applications. You can use ramps in just about any way you would use leeks or spring onions, but it's fun to get creative. Want to eat them whole? We suggest roasting or grilling. Don't want to eat them whole? Add them to a batch of homemade pesto, throw them in a spring-inspired soup or pasta, or blend them into your next vinaigrette.
Ramps can also be quick pickled with various spices and herbs. Check out our guide on quick pickling here and give it a try!
Recipes using ramps
Don't want to freestyle a recipe with ramps? Here are a few great options:
- Vegan Ramp Pesto
- Ramp Butter via Nerds with Knives - the best way to preserve ramps year-round!
- These Grilled Ramps with a Sherry-Ramp Vinaigrette look ridiculously good. Recipe via Bon Appétit.
- This Ramp, Fava Bean & Egg Spring Tart via Beyond Sweet & Savory is a sight for sore eyes!
- Asparagus and Ramp Soup by The First Mess - such a gorgeous, simple spring dish!
Food waste tip of the week: save the stalks!
Broccoli and cauliflower stalks, that is. Broccoli and cauliflower are two of my favorite vegetables, but I absolutely hate tossing the stalks (which make up about half of the total vegetable!). So much goes to waste, and there's no reason not to use them!
Broccoli and cauliflower stalks are perfectly edible, albeit slightly tough when raw. When roasting cauliflower and broccoli, I chop up the stalk and throw it in. The stalks also make for a great addition to soup. Try adding them to this Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Soup!
Since we're on a pickling kick - why not quick pickle broccoli and cauliflower stems? It's definitely worth a try!
Currently happening in the food industry
Even as the recycling movement seems to gain momentum, the grocery store can be a trap when it comes to choosing sustainable products. Packaged goods manufacturers continue to sell products in difficult (and sometimes impossible) to recycle packaging. This article from The Guardian breaks down some of the worst offenders in British supermarkets. Americans will also recognize some all-too-familiar packaging styles. Hello, Pringles!
The worst culprits often have layers of plastic lamination or packaging that includes multiple materials like metal, plastic and cardboard. Because different materials cannot be recycled together, combining different products into one piece of packaging makes them nearly impossible to dispose of in an Earth-friendly way. Your best bet is to avoid Styrofoam, boxes made of both cardboard and plastic and anything laminated (you can tell by how much it crinkles in your hands!)
Memorial Day Recipes
It's hard to believe Memorial Day is already next weekend. Time to start planning your menu! We're sharing a ton of new recipes this week that are perfect for Memorial Day, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here are a few of our other favorites.
- Pineapple Mango Rum Punch - perfect for a large crowd
- Watermelon Peach Prosecco Popsicles - not technically a drink, but we'll take it
- Pineapple Jalapeño Margaritas - these call for homemade jalapeño infused tequila, so get started now!
- Red, White & Blue Sangria - festive, fun and easy
- Corn, Avocado and Arugula Salad with a Basil Vinaigrette - who else is stoked for corn season?!
- Roasted Purple Potato, Asparagus and Pea Salad - vegan and gluten free
- Gluten Free Smoky Veggie Burgers - these are a favorite in our house!
- Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza - do people eat pizza on Memorial Day? We say yes.
- Kale Tahini Caesar Salad - a salad that actually gets eaten at a bbq!
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp - best served with vanilla ice cream
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart - vegan, gluten free and one of my all-time favorites
- Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Frosting - you can't ever go wrong with brownies
- Coconut Lime and Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake Bars - refreshing, tangy and delicious!