Spring. Renewal. When the ground starts to thaw but it’s still too cold to work the soil for planting. That’s when the hidden surprises of wild edibles poke their heads out. I must admit, when someone boasts they can deliver a bursting bag of ramps to you, I take it with a grain of salt. Really? ? Are you sure? You know Lily of the Valley looks JUST like ramps….
Well, true to his word, Al the forager came through in spades….A bag bursting with the first taste of Ontario Wild Leeks. Squeal!!
What a treat. I’ve never seen so many beauties…..I also had no idea how labour intensive they would be! Thankfully with a little help with washing, rinsing, trimming and cutting I could embark upon the main event…pickling
I used Andrea Chesman’s recipe from the “Pickled Pantry” which for a quart jar (approx. 4-250 ml. jars) uses:
1/2 lb. of ramps
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup of water
3 TBs sugar
1 Tsp pickling salt
1/2 TBs mixed pickling spices (mustard seed, bay leaves, coriander seeds, peppercorns etc)
1/4 tsp allspice berries
(hot pepper flakes optional)
Once the green leaves were trimmed off I also cut off the roots and placed them neatly in the jar. Well, no not exactly, because the stalks were still quite pliable I actually did a little more shoving and folding than neatly stacking…No matter. After boiling the brine, I filled up the jars, and water bathed them for 5 minutes (I was using 250 ml. jars) but if you use 500 ml. you may want to boil for closer to 10 minutes.
I did of course have to quadruple the recipe! But the results were sublime….
But what do you do with all the leaves?? That my friend, as Hammy Hamster would say, “is another story”. Stay tuned…..