Candied Ramp & Fennel Jam

ramp-fennel-jamSpeaking of sugar: how about some candied ramp & fennel jam?

Just a quick one today, as I am drowning in data and have been for days, but I took a half-hour lunch break to whip up this small-batch jam from a lovely bunch of ramps Tai brought home from Holbrook Farm the other day. With leaves finally filling out the trees, ramp season will soon be behind us as the sun gets blocked from the forest floor. I’m squeezing every last bit of enjoyment out of the long Spring season this year and that includes a few ramp preserving ideas percolating in my brain: ramp compound butter, dehydrated ramp bulb powder, homemade ramp pasta, and this ramp & fennel jam.

It’s a lovely little thing: bright-sweet, a bit of a crunch from candied crisp vegetables, and somehow the funky flavor of ramps and licorice-y fennel marry wonderfully. It made for a fab working lunch with crusty sourdough bread and a spicy salami.

I left my version quite loose, almost a syrup more than a jam, for ease in draping over a soft cheese or glazing a roast. I do think it would be a prettier jam made with pure white sugar: all those pinky-purple ramp bulbs and Spring-green fennel stalks; alas, as usual, I had none in the house. Nevertheless, it still tastes quite fine. And you know, sugar is brain food: since there are piles of data to go before I sleep, think I’ll have another slice!

ramp-fennel-jamCandied Ramp & Fennel Jam


  • 1 cup sugar (white sugar will make the prettiest jam; I used organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 cup water
  • juice & zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 medium bunches ramps (bulbs only)
  • 3 to 4 fennel stalks, fronds removed, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped)


  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, lemon juice & zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you prep the vegetables.
  2. Trim leaves from the ramp bulbs (reserve leaves for another recipe) and trim root ends. Wash well and finely chop bulbs: you should yield a scant ½-cup or so.
  3. Add ramp bulbs & fennel to the saucepan. Raise heat to high and boil, stirring only to prevent sticking or foaming over, until jam is reduced and bubbling thickly (gel point reached at 220 degrees F) about 5 – 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate to cool & gel.

Yields about 1 cup jam.


  1.  Ramp & fennel were surprisingly nice together; if you can’t find fresh fennel, try infusing fennel flavor into your jam with some fennel seed in a tea ball.


Refrigerated for about 1 month.




  1. Lindsay

    What size ramp bunches do you use, in terms of weight/number of ramps? I ask because what was described on Smitten Kitchen as a half bunch of ramps (luckily with a weight given too) was two full bunches of the ramps I get, so now I know it can vary hugely.

    • I probably used about 16 -18 stems; finely chopped it was a bit less than a half-cup. My “bunches” from the farmer’s market are typically about 3 – 4 oz. But I think it’s pretty flexible honestly; a little less ramp, a little more fennel, won’t make all that much difference in the final flavor.

    • I don’t think this jam would be everyone’s cup of tea: it definitely has that funky, oniony, garlicky flavor. I really like it, but my husband called it “unusual.” Trust me when I say that is not a compliment. 🙂

  2. I love ramps and fennel-I bet they are great together. At one of the restaurants I worked at we did a fennel pollen dusted rockfish, it was out of this world! I think fennel is definitely underutilized!

    • Fennel is my new love, for some reason. Not sure why I never used it much before; but I’m lucky enough to have a local farm at my winter market that grows passive greenhouse fennel all winter long. But yes, I agree – totally under-appreciated. That and parsley, which I add by the handful to *everything*.

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  5. Question: I want to make this jam but am picking the ramps sustainably so leaving the bulb in the ground. Any suggestions on how to incorporate the greens instead of the bulbs?

    • Hi Jodi,

      If you’re going to use the jam right away, say for a party or something, I think you could finely mince the leaves and add those. In storage, though, those leaves will turn brown and unappetizing: in that case, I’d simmer the sugar syrup with whole leaves, then remove prior to canning or refrigeration.

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