Pickled Ramps (or Wild Leeks)

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Can I keep talking about how spring is just blowing my mind? There’s so much going on it’s hard to keep track of. As I went for a walk earlier, I had all sorts of ideas for what I was going to write. But now it’s gone–dispersed in a cloud of lost mind either. Right now it’s all I can do to keep my mind on the computer. I’m out on the porch, the screens are covered with ladybugs, and big fat bumblebees are lazily cruising by looking for flowers. And the flowers! They are out in full force. The Hansen cherry bushes are loaded and pulsing with buzzing insects of every sort. The forsythias are competing with the leafing-out trees in brilliance. As I drive around, all kinds of trees in flower catch my eye: big huge clouds of white or the most delicate of pinks. And then there is the green, of course!

I’ve been walking all over, almost every day, an eye always peeled for ramps. This is such a great time to walk because you can still see in the distance. As soon as the understory fills in, your line of sight drastically changes. That’s pretty much when you can’t spot the ramps anymore. Ramps are everywhere now in the stores and markets, even going so low as $4 a bunch. It makes me sad that I love ramps so much–I wish I could love invasive garlic mustard more dearly. When foraging ramps, I pick only one stalk from a large patch. Grasping it low at the bulb I pull, and the leaves and stem slip out, and the bulb remains. I know the bulbs are delicious too, but I’m happy with the stems and leaves. That way I know the roots remain to be more ramps next year.

These pickles are sweet and garlicky! They are amazing on a snack plate, or piled on a sandwich. I’m going to pair these with duck confit for a special lunch I have planned for early next week–I think their zippy acidity and sweet spice will be perfect for the rich duck.

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Pickled Ramps or Wild Leeks

Makes about a half quart jar.

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup (4 ounces) sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 pound ramps, stems and leaves

Bring all the ingredients except the ramps to a boil, making sure the sugar and salt dissolve. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool just a bit. Then, pour the brine over the ramps in a large glass bowl. Let the ramps sit out for a few hours, and turn the leaves every so often. The ramps will wilt and let off moisture. Put them in a jar, and keep in the refrigerator.

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7 thoughts on “Pickled Ramps (or Wild Leeks)”

    1. I see them all the time. But, but, I get very bad reactions from all sorts of things, and so that has just turned me off of picking it myself. If someone wants to make me soup from it, I’d be glad to eat it!

    1. Well, it’s sort of not so good because the demand is so high that a lot of wild patches are being cleared out by folks that can clear a lot of money for it. Maybe the price going down will help that though…

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