Pickled Ramps (Wild Leeks)

Pickled Ramps recipe

Ray Kachatorian / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Canning Time: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 pint
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
22 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 531mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 5mg 27%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 40mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are early springtime wild onions that are only in season for a few weeks. Foraged by native tribes in North America for centuries, ramps are a tasty mashup between onions and garlic. Although they're sought-after by foodies, most people don't consume them or even know they exist, as it's close to impossible to find ramps in supermarkets. They grow slowly, they are scarce, and many people want them during the few weeks in which, if you're lucky, you can buy them.

Grown in Eastern Canada and the United States, ramps are most likely found at farmers' markets when in season. So if you have the chance to buy a handful of ramps, do not hesitate, as they might just become your new favorite allium. If you are lucky enough to buy a lot of ramps, use our recipe to enjoy them year-round, pickled in a vinegary and aromatic brine. You'd have to wait a week to sample the pickled ramps, but because this preparation allows you to have ramps when they're not in season, the wait is totally worth it.

The craze over ramps has caused overharvesting, to the point of endangerment in some areas, so when buying ramps make sure yours come from somewhere where they are abundant, or that they have been sustainably harvested. Better yet, grow your own.

Serve these ramps with pate or soppressata as part of a charcuterie spread and cheese platter.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ramps

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar (or apple vinegar)

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or other non-iodized salts)

  • 1 small hot chile pepper (chopped or crushed; fresh or dried)

  • 2 to 4 whole spicebush (or allspice berries)

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • 6 to 8 whole black peppercorns

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Ramps

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice at the string roots at the bottom of the ramps and then a little bit above the point where the white part ends and the green leaves separate out. Wash the ramps well. You're only going to pickle those white parts with a bit of the green attached, but don't throw out the leaves; save them for another recipe.

  3. Place a clean 1/2 pint canning jar—it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe—on its side. Lay the ramps in with the white part toward the bottom of the jar. Laying them in with the jar on its side makes it easier to keep the ramps straight so that they will all line up vertically when you set the jar upright.

  4. Pack the ramps in so tightly that you cannot squeeze in a single ramp more. This will ensure that the ramps stay immersed in the brine rather than floating up out of it. Be sure to leave 1/2-inch headspace between the top of the ramps and the rim of the jar. Trim the ramps if they are too tall.

Make the Brine

  1. Prepare the brine by putting the water, vinegar, honey, and salt in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

  2. Add the chile pepper, spicebush (or allspice), mustard, coriander, cumin, and black pepper into the liquid mixture.

  3. Bring the brine to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pickle and Process the Ramps

  1. Pour the hot brine over the ramps, covering them completely but still leaving 1/4- to 1/2-inch headspace. Screw on canning lids.

  2. Process the pickled ramps in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Wait at least a week for the flavors to develop before sampling. They will be even better after a month.

  3. Enjoy!

How to Store Pickled Ramps

Pickled ramps will keep, unopened, at room temperature for at least 1 year. After that time they are still safe to eat that but the quality will decline. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.

Quick Refrigerator Variation

Skip the boiling water bath and store the jars in the refrigerator. The ramps will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. If you have any leftover brine, use it for future batches of pickles.