Everyone is talking about ramps and, gosh, we love them too. If you don’t know what they are, why people love them or what anyone would ever do with them, Matthew has you covered. Just pickle them, but not before you read his words of wisdom, okay? Spring is here and you need to know ramps. Slide a bright bow around the jar (sunshine yellow, of course) and your potluck host gift is ready. -Maggie
Spring brings many welcome transitions. The thawing out of yards and the warmth of the sun are sure signs there are brighter days ahead. Another sign that winter has finally passed is the arrival of ramps at local markets in early spring.
I’ll admit that upon my first encounter with ramps, I wasn’t exactly sure what they were. Much like the clerk who rang me up recently, I too was perplexed by the look and name of such a curious cluster of produce. As I repeated “ramps” over and over to a blank gaze, I recalled being in this exact predicament when I worked the register in my younger days. However, this clerk ended up calling for back-up. Thankfully when the produce code was finally obtained, tensions eased and we moved onto the real question: What to cook?
I bought about a pound of ramps, which ended up being enough to fill one medium-sized mason jar. I decided on a quick pickled ramp, to avoid fussing with sterilizing all the parts involved. I also wanted to attempt to get a different flavor to compliment the naturally strong and spicy taste. My tastebuds went toward Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors, and so I looked in the pantry to see what might do. I came across a za’atar spice mix and paired that with a Turkish Bay Leaf – two ingredients to infuse the ramps with the slightest flair of spice. I added these to a simple pickling mixture of white vinegar, salt and peppercorn and combined all in a jar.
These pickled ramps are so wonderful because of their versatility. I would suggest using these in a mussels dish, or chopping into thin rounds for topping a plate of seared scallops. Offer them as the pickle for your spring cheese plate or use them to skewer olives for a special martini. You can get pretty creative with where you can use them and in what quantity. Omelets? Jam? I don’t see why not!
If you have other suggestions on where these pickled ramps would be used best, please share below.
- 1 pound of ramps, cleaned and trimmed of roots and greens
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3-5 peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons za’atar spice (aka zatar)
- 1-2 Turkish bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Heat water, vinegar and salt over stove until it comes to a boil.
- While waiting for the mixture to boil, stack the ramps lengthwise into a jar with the jar on its side.
- Once full, set the jar upright and carefully fill with the just boiled liquid mixture. Add in za’atar, Turkish bay leaf and peppercorns.
- Seal jar and gently mix. Let cool and place in fridge until ready to use.
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