Pickled Ramps in a Flash
Ramp season is over but you may want to save this recipe!
I held off posting this article until we had a chance to sample the results of this recipe. Last night we tasted the pickled ramps we made a few weeks ago first by chomping into a whole one then adding them to our nightly salad. These puppies are incredible and I’m glad we made several jars. We’ll be using these pickled ramps up in no time and pining for next years harvest.
Ramps (allium tricoccum) or wild leeks or wild onions are delicious. Grilled, raw, or otherwise the ramp has a deserved reputation for being one of the most sought after foraged foods. This year we decided to make pickled ramps from the harvest.
We are fortunate to have a ramp patch in the woods above Tess Creek, just behind the horse barn. The pickings were a little light this year for some reason, certainly not due to over picking them. We are always careful to leave a good amount so the patch can recuperate. Last year we went real easy on them, two years ago we didn’t harvest any.
This year however, my brother Tom and I went foraging for ramps. He knows of a spot not far from our home were they are plentiful. Within forty-five minutes of arriving at “ramp central” we both had about one and a half pounds. The pickin’s were good and we left a bajillion ramps in the woods for next year.
Still, there were so many ramps in the area I got carried away. Even though stored in the refrigerator a pound and half is way more than we could use in a week. In short, I’m thinking pickled ramps! The web site “Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook” by Hank Shaw is a great site and that’s where I found his recipe for pickled ramps. For ours I wanted a water bath, simple recipe and Hank had the goods. In a week we’ll know how good this recipe is.
Another reason I liked this recipe is that it’s easily modified. As long as you keep the vinegar/water ratio the same you can add or remove the spices or herbs to your liking. I went with the recipe as printed but can easily see where you could drop the saffron, add peppercorns, mustard, dill, fennel, or whatever you choose. So in effect this is a jumping off point for other pickles. The more I pickle, the more I like the versatility of pickling. I like the concept of base recipes and so seem to be doing more of this lately.
Bonus! Roast the little buggers for extra flavor
We also enjoy our salads at Clean Slate Farm. And come spring we usually have some lettuce from the low tunnels to have for dinner, along with a few ramps to jack up the meal. We use them two ways: sliced and roasted. Roasted is definitely the preferred way for our taste. The method is easier than falling off a log.
To roast ramps wash, dry, and trim them of the leaves and roots. Lay the ramps a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle lightly with olive oil, a tad of balsamic vinegar, a light drizzle of honey, season with salt and pepper then form a pocket. (The pocket thing is called “en papillote,” or in a pouch.) Seal the pouch and toss them on the upper shelf of your outdoor grill. Let them roast on the high setting for about 15 minutes then check to see if they are done. They should look like the photo to the left. We like them a little crispy but check them after about 10 minutes to see if they’ve softened up.
If you get the chance to forage for ramps do it. There’s something cathartic about the woods that can’t be all bad for you. Cant forage? Look at the farmers markets in spring. Ramps are so popular there is sure to be someone selling them. Roasted, raw, or (
maybe) definitely pickled they are hard to beat.
- 1¼ pounds of ramp bulbs, garlic cloves or pearl onions
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 2 cups distilled or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Put the thyme sprig in a clean quart jar. Make sure you have an unused lid for the jar; they only seal properly once.
- Get your canning pot ready. Put a layer of old canning jar rims on the bottom of the pot, or a vegetable steamer — something to keep the bottom of the jar off the bottom of the pot. Pour in enough hot tap water to cover the jar by about 1 inch. Put it on your most powerful burner and kick the spurs to it.
- Meanwhile, pour the vinegar and water in another pot and crumble the saffron into it. Pour the salt in and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the vinegar mixture is hot, pour in the honey and stir to combine.
- When the vinegar mixture is simmering, add the ramp bulbs and boil 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pack into the jar, making sure to not overfill — there’s a line on the jar marking the proper headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel and seal.
- Submerge the jar in the boiling water of the canning pot for 10 minutes.
- Wait at least 1 week before eating. Sealed, the pickles should last a year. Refrigerate after opening.