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What’s in Season: Ramps

rampsPhotos by Jared Levan

Good food is available all year round, but when ingredients are in season, flavors are at their best. With spring well in progress, it’s time to reap the harvest of fresh produce from your favorite local grocers and farmers markets! With ‘What’s in Season’, we aspire to keep you up-to-date on what’s tasting best at the peak of the season.

One of our favorite vegetables, ramps, recently resurfaced at the farmer’s markets. If you’ve never had fresh ramps, chances are you won’t understand the at-times insane mad rush for ramps at the market, but all it takes is one taste – and you’ll likely be hooked.

Even though they are sometimes referred to as wild garlic (sometimes wild leeks), ramps are actually a species of wild onions that grow from Eastern North America to the Midwest. The confusion around calling them garlic or onion is understandable; the taste and smell of fresh ramps are described as a perfect blend of both, which is probably why we love them raw or cooked and lightly dressed!

This easy recipe from our friends at Saveur is one of our favorite ways to enjoy fresh ramps when we can find them, typically late April to early June:

Pickled Spring Ramps

Yield: about 1 quart

  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 lb. ramps, cleaned, green leaves trimmed to 1″ past white and red parts
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. pink peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. caraway seed
  • ½ tsp. fennel seed
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add ramps and blanch, about 30 seconds. Transfer the blanched ramps to an ice-bath to stop cooking, then drain into a sterilized 1-qt. glass canning jar for pickling.

Combine all remaining ingredients with 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and pour hot mixture over ramps and seal jar. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

 

- Jared Levan

 

 

 

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