Ramps, also known as wild leeks are only available in the spring. Pickling ramps or making this relish is a great way to preserve this wonderful foraged goodness for a while longer!
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.
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:
- Distilled White Vinegar
- 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!)
- Pack tightly into the jar.
- 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.
Then wait 1-2 weeks. Okay, waiting could be the hardest part. However, I did sneak one and….
Frequently Asked Questions:
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!!
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!
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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- 1 pound ramps - wild leeks, cleaned and washed
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ 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.
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.