Pickled Ramps! Yes, friends! Ramps, also known as wild leeks are only available in the spring. Pickling is a way to preserve this wonderful foraged goodness for a little while longer!
My mother used to get so frustrated with my father. My father LOVES to forage for food in the forest. She’d say, “He’s always picking something and bringing it the house for me to clean!”
My dad loves to pick wild mushrooms, blackberries and blueberries! When I ask my dad how he knows not to pick poisonous mushrooms, he says, “Well, don’t pick the bad ones.” When he finds a goldmine of wild blackberries, he refers to it as “donating blood” because they’re so thorny.
A week or so ago I received a private Facebook message from my nephew by marriage who has a source for ramps, (also known as wild leeks) in northern Wisconsin and asked if I wanted any.
Didn’t have to think too long and hard on that one! You know I love to try new vegetables such as these cabbage sprouts!
I had only heard about ramps but never had the opportunity to try them so I was pretty eager to accept his offer. Ramps are the “holy grail” of foraged food and highly prized among foraging enthusiasts. They’re mostly available across the Eastern mountainous United States, but it appears they’ve made their way to northern Wisconsin.
My mom has passed away, but wait until my dad hears about this!
They resemble a scallion at the bottom but have edible, green leafy tops. The tops are great for pesto or braised or sauteed like any other green. Their flavor is quite unique–oniony with a hint of garlic.
Pickling these flavorful beauties is a way to preserve their goodness after ramp season has passed. I adapted this recipe for pickled ramps from Serious Eats.
First, clean them up and trim to fit inside a 1-quart jar.
The brine is super-simple! Combine everything in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour the brine over the ramps, push them down a bit so they are all submerged, let cool and then refrigerate.
And wait. Okay, waiting could be the hardest part. However, I did sneak one and….
I think I’m in love!
- 1 pound ramps (wild leeks)
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup salt (or to taste)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
- 6 whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Trim the tops from the ramps and reserve for another use. Pack the ramps into a wide-mouth jar with lid.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking until sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
- Pour hot brine over ramps, pushing them down so they are covered by the brine.
- Place the lid on the jar and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks before consuming.
Amount Per Serving Calories 171 Total Fat 0g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 3563mg Carbohydrates 41g Fiber 1g Sugar 39g Protein 0g