Ramps, ramps, ramps, chefs love ramps. There is a frenzy when they are available during spring. I will admit, I’m been pretty unfamiliar with ramps beyond having them while dining out.
So to backtrack for a quick second – my goal this farmer’s market season is to take on the more obscure offerings (produce, meat, and beyond) and try to create something tasty. Cook it, pickle it, grill it…as long as it’s a little out of my farmer’s market comfort zone. Chalk it up as a learning experience or if nothing else it’ll be good story to share over dinner with friends.
Now, back to RAMPS. They are green, oniony and garlicky. The flavors are a great accompaniments with many foods and it’s the hallmark of a truly spring dish.
After buying the bunch of ramps at the market, the reality set in once I brought them home. These ramps were staring at me as they sat on my kitchen counter and I was torn as to what to do. I knew I wouldn’t grill them to eat in one sitting. I was worried about their shelf life since the leaves seem so delicate. So looking around my kitchen and seeing my random supply of Ball jars, vinegar and spices…I did what any respectable home canner (or resident of Portlandia) would do, I pickled them.
Now, the biggest dilemma once I made my decision to pickle the ramps was - do I pickle with the green leaves or not? The recipes I researched seemed to remove the leaves, though I encountered some recipes with the leaves on. I recently had pickled ramps (with burrata – it was heavenly) with the leaves on. They are somewhat clumsy to eat, but I love the greenery with it. I opted to pickle some ramps with leaves and some without. Figured this would be a bit of an experiment.
Next was to decide on a recipe, with quite a few options, I picked elements of a few recipes that I liked. So my recipe is a bit of a hodgepodge of ideas (sources: Serious Eats, Saveur, etc).
If you opt to pickle your ramps, definitely follow the procedures for safe canning. As my mom says, no one wants a side of botulism with their pickles. The small bunch of ramps fit into a one-quart ball jar with pickling liquid. The best part was I had my ramps pickled and ready for the fridge in less than an hour. What’s not to love about that for a food project?
1 bunch of ramps (greenery on or off, your call) – remove the little bit of onionskin on the bottoms
1.5 cups of rice wine vinegar
½ cup of water
½ cup of sugar
1 tbls of kosher salt
2 tsp of coriander seeds
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of peppercorns (I had a multicolor mix)
½ tsp of mustard seeds
2 bay leaves (placed in the Ball jar)
Boil liquids with the sugar and salt in a small pot. You can either add your seeds (cumin, mustard, coriander, peppercorns) to the jar, or to the pickling liquid so the flavor cooks in (which is what I did).
After letting it boil for about 10 minutes to ensure the sugar and salt are dissolved (stir occasionally), I added the pickling liquid to the jar. What I learned during this process in comparison to pickling other veg – ramps are super buoyant. I started to fill the liquid in and my ramps floated to the top and poked out of the top of the jar. When trying to keep the rim sanitary, it was difficult but I got them in. I sealed the jar and placed it in the fridge after letting them cool on the counter for a bit.
It seems in about a week, they’ll be ready to eat. Since I didn’t process the jar in a water bath, they should keep in the fridge for about a month. I plan on pairing my ramps with soft cheese and crusty bread.
Next week, another farmer’s market run…it’s Memorial Day. We’re having company, so hoping to find something fun to serve! Stay tuned for more market adventures through out this summer.