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Pickled Ramps with Saffron

pickled ramp bulbs

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Pickled ramps. Oooh yeah… Crunchy, sweet-and-sour, just a little stinky. What’s not to love? Fresh young ramps don’t have an overpowering smell, but ramp bulbs sure do: It’s a big garlicky-oniony smack in the face. But these pickles are so damn good.

And pretty, too. I came up with the flavors after reading a reference to a pickle made in Medieval Persia that used honey and saffron and “aromatic herbs.” I reckoned that’d be delicious, so I developed this recipe.

You can buy ramp bulbs fresh or frozen online from Earthy Delights, or you can forage them yourself if you love in the East. Or, you can use big garlic cloves or pearl onions.

Makes 1 quart, and can be doubled

  • 1 1/4 pounds of ramp bulbs, garlic cloves or pearl onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 2 cups distilled or white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  1. Put the thyme sprig in a clean quart jar. Make sure you have an unused lid for the jar; they only seal properly once.
  2. Get your canning pot ready. Put a layer of old canning jar rims on the bottom of the pot, or a vegetable steamer — something to keep the bottom of the jar off the bottom of the pot. Pour in enough hot tap water to cover the jar by about 1 inch. Put it on your most powerful burner and kick the spurs to it.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the vinegar and water in another pot and crumble the saffron into it. Pour the salt in and turn the heat to medium-high.
  4. Once the vinegar mixture is hot, pour in the honey and stir to combine.
  5. When the vinegar mixture is simmering, add the ramp bulbs and boil 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pack into the jar, making sure to not overfill — there’s a line on the jar marking the proper headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel and seal.
  7. Submerge the jar in the boiling water of the canning pot for 10 minutes, or, if the water is just steaming, 15 minutes.
  8. Wait at least 2 weeks before eating. Sealed, the pickles should last a year. Refrigerate after opening.

More Pickle Recipes

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5 responses to “Pickled Ramps with Saffron”

  1. Forays into the World of Foraging « Snowflake Kitchen

    [...] Saffron Ramps with Sage Adapted from Hank Shaw’s Pickled Ramp Bulbs with Saffron 1 quart ramp bulbs/stems 2 cups distilled white vinegar 1 cup water 1 tablespoon salt 2 tablespoons [...]

  2. Jose

    I would like to thank you for this excellent recipe.
    I cracked open the sample jar after I had allowed for
    the correct curing time and had a pickled ramp.
    The taste was bloody (expletive deleted) awesome.
    So now that the sting of not finding any morels this year
    has been lessened by my discovery of this recipe and seeing
    as how I live in a place where harvesting ramps is neither a commercial enterprise or a spring folk ritual I can return next year to the forest with all confidence that if I take care to not get greedy there will be wild leeks for the taking every year.
    I hope.
    Thanks again.


  3. Pickled Ramps Recipe | Leite's Culinaria

    [...] Pickled Ramps with Saffron from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook [...]

  4. judith lowry

    I’m having trouble finding out what “ramps” really are. Is it a specific species of wild onion? Or do some people call any wild onion “ramps.”

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