Pickled Ramps Recipe

4.50 from 62 votes
20 minutes
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Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are only available in the spring.  Pickling ramps or making this ramp relish is a great way to preserve this wonderful foraged goodness for a while longer!

Pickled ramps in glass jar.

About This Ramps Recipe:

I live in the southern U. S. where ramps don’t grow because of our clay soil. A nephew by marriage in north-central Wisconsin where they do grow started a ramp Etsy store and contacted me to see if I wanted any. I didn’t have to think too long and hard on that one!

I used some of them to make this Cream of Asparagus and Leek Soup with Curry and because I’m sort of a pickle fanatic, decided to pickle the rest.

Pickling these flavorful beauties is a way to preserve their goodness after ramp season has passed.  I adapted this pickled ramps recipe from Serious Eats. So good and so easy!

The sweet, tangy and fragrant brine pairs perfectly with the earthy sweetness of ramps.

Freshly dug ramps with dirt still on the roots.

What are ramps?

Ramps (also known as wild leeks or Allium tricoccum) are the “holy grail” of foraged food and are highly prized among foraging enthusiasts. They’re a member of the onion family so they’re related to leeks, scallions and shallots. They resemble a scallion at the bottom but have edible, green leafy tops. The tops are great for pesto and braised or sauteed like any other green. Their flavor is quite unique–oniony with a hint of garlic.

This spring delicacy is mostly available across the Eastern mountainous United States however, they’ve made their way to northern Wisconsin and Canada. They grow in cooler climates in rich loamy soil. Ramps grow very slowly, taking up to six to seven years to flower and reproduce.

They’re usually available from early April into mid to late May. Growers are now cultivating them so their availability is increasing. If you purchase ramps/wild leeks from a professional forager, make sure they’re using sustainable foraging practices and not over-harvesting.

Choose ramps with healthy-looking dark (but not too dark) green leaves. The leaves should not be wilted and the 10-14-inch long stalks should be thin rather than thick. Thin stalks are more tender.

Ingredients to Make Pickled Ramps:

  • Ramps
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Bay Leaves
  • Yellow or Brown Mustard Seeds
  • Allspice Berries
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

How to Make Pickled Ramps:

  • First, clean them well. Like leeks, they tend to be muddy. Trim the roots and trim the tops to fit inside a 1-quart jar. (Remember to save those tops to saute or make a pesto!)
Freshly washed ramps with root end removed.
  • Pack tightly into the jar.
Ramps in glass jar without the brine.
  • The brine is super simple!  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Make sure the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  • Pour the brine over the ramps, push them down a bit so they are all submerged, let cool and then refrigerate.
Pickled ramps in glass jar.

Then wait 1-2 weeks.  Okay, waiting could be the hardest part.  However, I did sneak one and….

Pickled ramps in glass jar.

So good!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do you do with pickled ramps?

Pickled ramps are great with anything you’d serve other pickled vegetables with. Add them to a Bloody Mary or martini, on a sandwich or burger, add to aioli to serve with grilled fish, chicken or vegetables, add to dips, charcuterie or cheese boards, potato salads, deviled eggs, tuna salads and so much more!!

Can you eat the leaves of a ramp?

After removing the roots, every part of the ramp is edible–from the small white bulb that resembles a spring onion to the large green leaves!

Can you freeze ramps?

You can freeze ramps, but they’ll need to be blanched first. Blanch the ramp bulbs in boiling water for 15 seconds before plunging them into an ice-water bath. Blot them dry, then pack them up for the freezer. Make pesto from the greens which will freeze great!

How to Store Pickled Ramps:

Because these pickled wild leeks are not canned in a water bath and sealed, it’s important to keep them refrigerated. Pickled ramps are best within three months but will last up six months in the refrigerator.

For more pickled vegetables, try my:

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Ramps in pickling brine

Pickled Ramps Recipe

4.50 from 62 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Ramps, also known as wild leeks are only available in the spring. Here’s a way to preserve this wonderful foraged goodness for a little while longer!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Pickles and Relishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 203 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ramps - wild leeks, cleaned and washed
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Best enjoyed within three months but will keep up to six months in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3558mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 1267IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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33 Comments

  1. I’d love to try this recipe. Can you figure out for me how much liquid/spice and ramps for a 500ml jar. Even a 250 ml jar. Thanks so much.
    S. Roy

    1. Hi, Shelley, Thanks so much for your question. My recipe creates approximately 3 1/2 to 4 cups of liquid. If you have a 500 ml jar, that would be about 16 ounces which is 2 cups or 1-pint jar. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  2. Such a great recipe! So easy to follow and so refreshing! I made a second, sweeter batch using fennel from the garden instead of the red pepper flakes. Delicious!

      1. Hello, I would like to make a sweet relish with this recipe for hot dogs and hamburgers (spreadable). Is it best to chop them by hand or in a food processor? Would there be any difference with the brine or canning? Thank you. Ann

      2. Hi, Ann, Thanks so much for your question. I LOVE the idea of making relish with this recipe and I think it would be great! Chopping by hand would be pretty tedious so I would use a food processor but keep an eye on the texture so you don’t have ramp puree. The brine is perfect as it’s on the sweeter side; you’re going to have to gauge the amount of ramps you have with the brine. This is a quick pickle recipe so you’d just have to follow instructions for water bath canning. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  3. That part about “clean and trim the ramps” was not included in the time estimate, was it? That part takes at least an hour if you have help, longer if you don’t!

    1. Hi, Nancy, Thanks so much for that information. Did you do more than 1 pound? Because ramps are going to be quite dirty, they would have to be cleaned for any recipe, so I didn’t include that time in the recipe. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  4. Can I please ask why so much sugar? It sounds like an awful lot to me. Just curious. Are these a sweet pickle?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi, Eleanor, Thanks so much for your question. You certainly don’t have to put that much sugar in the brine. Try it with half or even less and if you like it, go with it. I am not a sweet pickle fan at all, but I didn’t find the brine that sweet. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!

  5. I am sure I am not the only person to say this, and please forgive me in advance if I sound rude.

    Please tell your nephew if he digs the wild ramps out by the complete root they will not come back next year. If he found a plethora of them and did not sustainably harvest, he will wipe out his prized find in just one pass.

    They are special and delicious, and can be enjoyed every spring… but they take years to grow and spread.

    That may have been a stock photo, in which case never mind. If so, change it so concerned foragers like me won’t leave you lengthy replies again. 🙂

    Happy hunting / gathering / pickling / fermenting / blogging!

    1. Hi, Jo, Thanks so very much for the information and I totally get it! That was the first year he did the ramps and I will certainly mention it to him! I’m sure he has learned a thing or two since then. BTW, he does include replanting instructions so the ramp love can continue to spread. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Richard, Thanks so much for your question. Yes, you could certainly do that and that would probably be better if you have a large amount you want to do. With the small amount I had, I knew I’d eat them fairly quickly. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Mark, Thanks so much for your question. They will keep quite a while. I ate them sparingly for two months and I thought they were fine. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!