This past weekend friends who live near us upstate, on an area overrun with ramps, graciously invited us over for our second annual swap of all-we-can-pick ramps for a pick-up truck full of our “like gold” sheep manure for their garden. (So very cutting-edge-hipster-locavore. Then again, poop for weeds…)
After a very muddy morning, we brought home two substantial garbage bags of ramps with their roots and soil intact, to transplant to our woods, and a very generous shopping bag of loose ramps to cook and eat. I got to work on a big batch of these slightly hot, slightly sweet, bright and tangy pickled ramps that night. I am now addicted, and looking forward to ice cold pickled ramp martinis later this summer. Oh, and picked ramps also go brilliantly with fish and roasted meats, on sandwiches, or alongside cheeses and charcuterie.
SPICY-TART PICKLED RAMPS
2 large bunches of cleaned ramps, stalks only, trimmed of greens (about 2-3 cups, loosely packed) (Save greens for scrambled eggs.)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp peppercorns, white, green, or black, or combination
2 1/2″ piece of ginger root, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1 dried thai chili, about 2″ long, seeds removed for less spice
1 bay leaf
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready nearby. Blanch ramps in salted water for about 30 seconds, and then shock in ice water to stop the cooking. This will preserve some of the ramps’ color. Dry and transfer to a quart sized jar.
In a non-reactive pot, combine vinegar, sugar, water, ginger, chili, bay leaf, and spices. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over blanched ramps.
Cool, cover and refrigerate. Ramps will be sufficiently pickled in about 3 days, and will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. If you’d like to preserve them longer, process in a canning water bath to seal jar.