When I saw these beauties at the farmer’s market on Saturday, I couldn’t resist buying them. I tried pickled ramps for the first time at the foodie book club last week, and I. was. hooked. I’m hoping there will still be more at the farmer’s market this weekend, because I don’t think I can live without a few more bunches. At least.
Things that are awesome about ramps:
- They’re delicious.
- They’re tiny, cute, wild leeks.
- You can eat all of them: bulbs, stems, and leaves.
- Have I mentioned they’re delicious?
Since I only purchased enough ramps to make one pint jar’s worth of pickled ramps, it was pretty easy to pickle in the morning before work, and then save the greens in a covered bowl for pesto making that evening. (Have I mentioned that I love pesto?) I like when cooking can fit into my life even when my schedule gets hectic.
For the pickling, I cleaned and prepped the ramps, measured out the spices, and put some pots on to boil (one to blanch the ramps, one to sterilize the jar, and the third to boil the vinegar). I put the greens in a covered bowl to save for pesto making later.
It’s worthwhile to note here that while I did sterilize the jar by boiling it in hot water, I did not hot water or pressure can these ramps, so they do need to be refrigerated and consumed within a few weeks. (If anyone knows how long to boil pickled ramps so that they can be stored for longer periods of time, please let me know!) I also want to mention that I am, by no means, a canning expert; however, I can tell you that if you’re planning on canning goods for longer-term storage, make sure to follow the recipe precisely, including hot water/pressure canning times, so that you don’t get crazy diseases including botulism. Nobody wants botulism.
Pickled Ramps (adapted from Tom Colicchio’s Think Like a Chef)
2 bunches of ramps
1/2 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt for blanching
1/2 tbsp salt for the pickling liquid
Trim the root ends off of the ramps and cut down the leaves leaving about 1/4 inch of green (save the greens for the pesto recipe below!). Wash the ramps with cool water.
Blanch the ramps quickly – about 30 seconds – by dropping them in a large pot of salted, boiling water, and then shock them by removing them from the boiling water and putting them in a bowl of ice water. Drain the ramps well and place them in a mason jar.
Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, coriander, pink and white peppercorns, and fennel seeds.
Pour the hot vinegar mixture (preferably through a funnel) over the ramps in the mason jar and let cool, sealing tight and transferring to the refrigerator.
This recipe makes one pint. I halved the original recipe.
In the refrigerator these pickled ramps will last a few weeks to a couple of months. If you follow traditional, safe canning techniques, these will last for a few months, or until you eat them all, which ever comes first.
Ramps Pesto (from Eugenia Bone)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 heaping cup chopped ramps greens
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 c pignoli nuts (pine nuts)
3 tbsp chicken stock (homemade if you’ve got it, or veg stock if you prefer)
1/4 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste (I used sea salt)
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small nonstick skillet. Add the chopped ramps greens and garlic (the garlic will make the pesto a bit hotter). Sauté a few minutes, until the greens have wilted.
Dump the ramps and the remaining ingredients, including the remaining tablespoon of oil, in a food processor and blend to a puree the consistency of basil pesto.
Makes about 1/2 cup.