I know: you’re so over ramps, right? And ramp pickles – gah! Everyone has done them (no, really, everyone) and I am late to the party. I might as well just post a cupcake recipe and have done. But, but, but…. well, I have no excuses. Except to say this: if this little jar of ramps waiting-to-become gets pushed out of sight in the fridge, hidden behind the massive bunches of rhubarb, the parsley and dill, the radishes and leeks; if it disappears for a month or two, and then we finally crack it open and at least one of us (I’m looking at you, Hubs) loves them; well if that happens, I’ll want to know what I put in ‘em.
Rather heavily adapted from Tigress’ Spring Rampage Pickles at Tigress in a Pickle
- 6 – 8 peppercorns
- 1/2 of a star anise (about 3 ‘petals’ of the ‘flower’)
- 1 dried red chile pepper
- about 1 lb ramps (3 bunches)
- 2 small stems, with leaves, of parsley
- 3/4 cups cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity if processing for room temperature storage)
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp spoon coarse sea salt (I used fleur de sel)
- Clean ramps well, sliding any loose or slimy bits of skin off of the bulbs. Trim the hairy bulb ends, then cut off the greens (reserve for another use). Leave a little bit of the skinny, pink stalk as a ‘handle’ for your pickle (besides, it will look awesome in a martini).
- Clean a pint jar in hot, soapy water; rinse well. At this point you can sterilize the jar, if you like, by placing in a 250 degree F oven for 10 minutes, or by boiling in water for 10 minutes. I chose to skip this, but I did rinse the inside of the jar out with boiling water just before packing. Add the peppercorns, star anise, and chile to the bottom of the jar. Pack in the ramp bulbs, some bulb down, some bulb up. Tuck the parsley in along the edges. You want the brine to be able to cover the vegetables, so leave yourself a good inch of headspace when packing.
- Combine the brine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat (be careful: the honey will foam a lot). Boil for 1 minute, skim any foam, then pour the boiling brine over your ramps into the jar. Completely cover the ramps, but don’t worry if some float above the brine; they’ll settle eventually. Seal, quickly invert (to get the lid hot), and allow to rest, right side up, until the jar comes to room temperature. Store refrigerated.
Yields 1 pint.
- Practically endless. Just ensure that you keep the proportions of vinegar, water & salt the same.
- Need a use for those ramp greens? You can sauté them like any leafy green, with a little olive oil & garlic, and toss with pasta, pop into a frittata, or layer into lasagna. You can ferment them in a kimchi or chop them into a chimichurri (replace the bulbs with a shallot or some red onion). Or, you could simply blanch & freeze them to enjoy later in the season.
Refrigerated, indefinitely (they will continue to get more and more briny, and softer in texture, over time). Like most pickles, this is certainly acidic enough for water-bath canning, should you so desire. If your jar seals properly even without a water bath, you may safely store these at room temperate, but if that is your aim, I would recommend that you sterilize the jar before packing.