food to lose your shit over, over foraging, ramp backlash, ramps

Pickled Ramps


If you’ve just let out a dramatic exhale at seeing the word ‘ramps,’ then this is not the post for you. May I point you here, here or here.

If you’ve just squealed with delight and are running down to Whole Foods now in your pajamas, without paying any mind to the fact that you still have eye crusties and morning breath–well, then… you’re gross. But seriously, after you’ve showered and made yourself fit for human contact THEN get yourself to Whole Foods, Rosemont or Royal River(where I image they also are right now) and snatch up a handful of them. Or not. Whether your pro or anti-ramp seems to be a very personal statement these days.

Why? Well, somehow ramps, over the past few years, have become the lightening rod of foods that symbolize everything that the anti-foodie hates about the foodie. Backlash, whether real or perceived, against the fervor the wild leek causes has already started and will go on for another few weeks. At the same time, menus will be inundated with ramps(and soon, fiddleheads–the ramps younger, bastard foodie loved brother) in every form from compound butters to cocktails. Then, around mid-May, they’ll quietly disappear. The foodies and chefs who were so quick to clamor for their bunches will hardly blink an eye. Until next April when the circus starts anew.

For me, I see the yearly ramp season as something to be celebrated–though not something to lose your shit over. It symbolizes the true start of spring and their appearance at the markets, to me, are much more welcomed than micro lettuces and sprouts. I quietly buy my bunch–this year it was about a half pound–cook them up and move on. This year, though, I did decide to enjoy them a wee bit longer and went for a pickled version.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon red peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds ramps, cleaned and trimmed
  • Kosher salt for blanching
  • 1 tablespoon salt for the pickling liquid
Procedures

  1. Trim the ends off of the ramps and cut down the leaves leaving about 1/4 inch of green, saving the green ends for another purpose. Wash the ramps under cool, running water.

  2. Blanch the ramps quickly (30 seconds) by dropping them in a large pot of salted, boiling water, and then shock them in ice water. Drain the ramps well and place them in a mason jar.

  3. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, coriander, pink and white peppercorns, and fennel seeds.

  4. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the ramps in the mason jar and let cool, sealing tight and transferring to the refrigerator.

  5. In the refrigerator these pickled ramps will last a few weeks to a couple of months. If you follow traditional, safe canning techniques, these will last for a few months, or until you eat them all, which ever comes first.

Pickled Ramps on Punk Domestics
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