Before I left the Hudson Valley, where I hid out for the winter to work on a book, the ramps came in. I dug a few to eat and a few more to pickle—just enough for a single jar, ABOVE.
I had given away my last copy of my book, so I didn't have my usual recipe at hand. Instead I freestyled a recipe using the universal ratio for pickling brine: one part 5% vinegar to one part water, plus whatever seasonngs you like.
Given the ramp's boisterous nature, I let the brine be quiet, a minimalist background of apple cider vinegar softened with sourwod honey, then rounded out with a bay leaf, a stem of dried wild thyme that I had brought back from Spain, a clove, and a half-dozen peppercorns.
This is a cold-pack pickle and I didn't bother to process the jar in a boiling water bath. The project took maybe 15 minutes, and now that I'm back in Los Angeles—far, far from the rampy woods—I wish I'd made a few more.
Freestyle Pickled Ramps
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much fine sea salt)
a small bay leaf
a stem of dried thyme or a pinch of dried leaves
a half-dozen whole peppercorns
30-40 fat ramps, trimmed (save the tops to cook as you would any other greens)
1 Combine all the ingredients except the ramps in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Set aside for 15 minutes while you trim the ramps.
2 Pack the ramps in a clean wide-mouth pint jar. Bring the pickling brine back to a boil, and pour it over the ramps to cover. Seal, and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.
Yields 1 pint