Ramps are wild onions that are foraged in the spring. The edible leaves taper to a pencil shaped shaft with a faint purple stain where the two meet. Because of their narrow shape, they are often grilled or quickly sauteed.
Like many vegetables with a limited season, they are preserved to be eaten later, such as pickling, which reduces the harsh onion bite and makes a delicious accompaniment to salads or grilled meats. There are many styles of pickling including natural yeast fermentation, as in sauerkraut, dry miso pickling, or this simple vinegar pickling method:
- Vinegar (price is directly related to quality)
- Spices (coriander seeds, bay leaf, clove, dried chile flakes, and black peppercorns)
For ramps, use a white vinegar (i.e. champagne, white wine) to preserve the color, and add water to taste. Bring the vinegar, water, and spices to a boil, then add the trimmed ramps (roots removed and wash in plenty of water to remove grit). Plunge in simmering pickling liquid till white ends are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Remove ramps and cool cooking liquid, then fully submerge ramps in pickling liquid and refrigerate until ready to eat.