Pickling ramps allows you to enjoy this wild spring ephemeral all year round. The vinegar and salt also help to bring out the flavor in this spicy crisp vegetable.
There are a number of ways to preserve ramps, each with its own pros and cons. Most methods prepare ramps for use in a recipe somehow. Ramp pesto or compound butter add ramp flavor to something else that’s happening in your kitchen. The best part about these pickled ramps is that you can enjoy them all on their own.
Ramps have a pungent garlic and onion flavor, and when pickled with salt and sugar they get a bit of sweet and sour goodness. For this recipe, I’ve kept it simple and seasoned them with black peppercorns and a little fresh thyme from our greenhouse.
I’ve seen other recipes that use coriander and fennel, or mustard seed and allspice. Still others that make them a bit middle eastern with saffron and turmeric, and some that go spicy with hot pepper flakes. Really, the sky’s the limit. Choose your spices for yourself, but make sure that any recipe you choose includes plenty of vinegar for pickling.
At a minimum, the brine should be half water and half vinegar. In this recipe, I’m using 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water so they’re a bit sourer than most. Feel free to use straight vinegar if you want them extra sour.
Salt and sugar ratios also vary widely, with some recipes including so much sugar I’d call them candied ramps rather than pickled. A good safe amount is about 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tablespoon salt. Add more or less to your own tastes.
Ramp leaves don’t hold up well to pickling. It’s best to save those for another use, like ramp pesto or ramp compound butter. Something that will use them fresh and green and really make them pop.
Pickled Ramps for Canning
This pickled ramp recipe is minimally seasoned so you'll taste mostly ramps along with a bit and sweet and sour tang. Feel free to skip the canning process and just store these in the refrigerator, or process them in a water bath and they'll be shelf stable until opened.
- 2 cups ramp bulbs and stems
- 1 cup vinegar white or apple cider
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1-2 sprigs thyme, fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Clean the ramps thoroughly and remove the small roots. Cut off the leaves and reserve them for another use (like ramp pesto or compound butter). If canning, prepare a water bath canner now.
Pack the ramp bulbs into a clean pint mason jar. Arranging them bulb side down and slotting them in helps to fit more into the jar.
Add peppercorns and thyme directly to the mason jar with the ramps.
Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil on in a saucepan and pour the brine over the ramps, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cap with a two-part mason jar lid and either store in the refrigerator or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Allow the flavors to infuse for at least a week before eating.