These quick pickled ramps are so easy to keep the special flavour of wild leeks all year round.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when ramps poke through the spring soil and it’s time to go foraging. But like all great things ramps are only around for a short time, just a few weeks.
What are Ramps?
Ramps, or allium tricoccum, are also known as wild leeks or wild garlic and while they are very popular in Canada and northern US States, they also are known in other countries as wild spring onions, ramson and wood leeks.
In Ontario they grow wild and it’s legal to pick them but that’s not the case in Nova Scotia or Quebec where over foraging has led to them becoming close to extinction.
For this reason you need to be careful careful that you buy from ethical foragers or forage ramps yourself.
You can use them in these easy ramp recipes:
- Beer battered ramps with Korean chili goat yogurt
- Charred ramp pesto
- Ramp kimchi
- Ramp pasta with prosciutto and parmesan
My friend Dana and Joel at Well Preserved also posted these great ramp recipes
How Long Do Ramps Last
Not only is the ramp season short, they don’t last long in the fridge. You have four days to consume them fresh.
Like many greens you need to keep in the a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge, but don’t seal it. Make sure everything else in the fridge is sealed as ramps are very pungent and as soon as you open the door you’ll be hit with that delicious garlic-onion smell.
While ramp season is short, luckily pickled ramps are easy to make at home and they hold up better than freezing ramps.
Freezing wild ramps works if you’re just going to puree them, but I don’t like the texture when they thaw. To freeze ramps, blanch them first then put them in a single layer on a sheet of wax paper. Make sure they are separated. After a couple hours you can then transfer to a container or heavy duty freezer bag.
Freezing ramps preserves them for a few months.
Foraging Wild Edible Food
My first time foraging wild food was mushrooms in Spain (here’s a video of it) and I was hooked.
I brought that love to Canada and was able to forage in Ontario for a few years, mostly ramps and wild ginger in the spring and then mushrooms in the winter.
I was lucky to be able to forage on private land, where no one had previously foraged so once you found a patch of ramps it would go on for ages.
Foragers closely guard their spots more than anyone I have ever seen because it’s so special to find something. The only reason I was able to go foraging for mushrooms with friends in Spain is because they knew I couldn’t find the place on my own!
If you can’t find ramps on your own a lot of farmers markets will have them during the season. Many people who make their business from foraged and wild plants are actually now scattering seeds in Ontario to help prevent against over-foraging.
Foraging Books I Like
Pickled Ramps Recipe
If you have a quick pickles recipe it’s easy to use that recipe. Simply pour the liquid over ramps and refrigerate.
Ramps work perfectly with the leaves, there’s no need to remove them. However, after the first time pickling ramps a reader pointed out that he blanches the ramps first to fit more into a jar. Thank you for that tip. Canning jars be expensive and this means you can fit far more ramps into a quart jar.
Once you clean the ramps and remove any roots that may be attached you can put them directly into the jar.
This recipe uses cider vinegar but red wine vinegar is also great and makes the jars a pretty pink colour. Ingredients are so flexible in a pickle recipe. Red pepper flakes or bay leaves are also a great addition.
Once you’re done using the pickled ramps don’t even think of throwing out all that tasty pickling liquid. It is fantastic to use in recipes that call for vinegar and has a nice mild onion flavour.
How Long Do Pickled Ramps Last?
A quick pickle with last in the fridge a few weeks to a couple months. You must make sure you put a clean utensil into the jar each time or you’ll spoil the ramps.
Water bathed canned pickled will last a year in a cool, dark area.
Where to Buy Pickled Ramps?
If you have no desire to make your own pickled ramps head out to the country. A lot of country farm stores like Lynn River Farm in Perth County sell their own preserves.
Farmer’s markets are also a good spot, especially right after ramp season. But if you don’t buy them in the spring it’s unlikely you’ll find them as the are very popular.