Speaking 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!
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.