Not only was it Mother’s Day this past Sunday, but it was also my birthday. On such occasions that my birthday lands on Mom’s Day, I commandeer the whole weekend and make lots of demands. On Friday evening I demanded Mexican food, margaritas, and a movie. Nobody complained because it meant they all got dinner and a movie too. On Saturday my husband brought me a load of dirt for my newest raised bed. On Sunday I wanted yard work, gardening, and a walk in the woods to forage wild edibles. I spent some enjoyable time with my family, and came back from the woods with a big batch of one of my favorite spring delicacies, ramps. Because the season for ramps is only a couple of weeks long, I prolong it by making some refrigerated pickled ramps and compound butter for the freezer. The pickled ramps make a tasty martini (Gibson) garnish. The ramp butter can be used melted over vegetables, on crusty warm bread, to make your morning scramble, or anything in which you’d like to ramp up the flavor (pun intended).
The amounts given below are for each pint of pickled ramps. I like my pickles vinegary, so I never add sweetener to my pickling brine.
Ramps, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon peppercorn
Place cleaned and trimmed ramps in jars. Combine vinegar, water, salt and spices into a pan and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over ramps. Cool to room temperature, cover and store in refrigerator.
Now, it’s confession time. I just gave you the traditional method for pickled ramps. I only make a couple of jars and they don’t last long, so I skip a step. I don’t heat the brine. I just pour it cold over the ramps and stick the jars in the refrigerator. I’ve also used other spices in the past. You can use mustard seed, celery seed, coriander, thyme, red pepper flakes….. get imaginative.
Not one to be wasteful, I even use the pickling brine. With it’s strong oniony-galicky-leeky flavor (just how do you describe the flavor or ramps?), the brine is wonderful mixed with a little olive oil for a vinaigrette.
Oh, and for the ramp butter, and ramp martini….. stay tuned!