What To Preserve Now, Part I: Ramps

May 10, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Melissa Graham

Friend and reader Christy Levy made an excellent suggestion in response to my Taste of Summer, which was to include on this site a preservation guide. To give the lady what she wants, I’m going to start a regular feature What To Preserve Now, in which I’ll provide suggestions on what market products you should be putting up now, whether by freezing, pickling or drying.

Today’s ingredient is the ramp, the Midwest’s stinky food mascot, darling of chefs, and allium lovers. The ramp’s time is short so preserve it to enjoy its pungency year round. To learn more about the ramp, read this 2009 post on The Local Beet.


The simplest way to save the ramp is to freeze it. Trim the little hairy end and but off the long green strands (you can use these in this recipe for Ramp and Bacon Tart, just increase the greens and omit the bulbs). Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling. Drop the ramps into the water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Seal in airtight containers and freeze.


Pickled Ramps
1 pint

3 bunches of ramps, trimmed and cooked as described in the previous recipe
1 1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dill seeds
1 clove
1 bay leaf

Sterilize a pint size canning jar. I did it by submerging it in a large glass bowl filled with water, microwaving the whole mess for 15 minutes. While sterilizing your jar, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, dill, clove, and bay leaf in a small pan over medium high heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. Pack the hot jar with the ramps. Pour the brine over them. Soak the jar’s lid and ring in the hot water for 1 minute. Seal the jar. Keep the jar at room temperature until opened. I plan to let my ramps set for a few days before using.

Pickled ramps are delicious on burgers and in salads. How do you use your ramps?


  1. Bernadine says:

    How do I use my ramps? Ramp butter, Ramp pesto, Ramp/mushroom/goat cheese empanadas, (all of which I make a little extra of each time and freeze for a future Ramp-less day), Ramp spaghetti, Ramp omelette.

    This is a great series you are starting! I’ll use it as a reminder! Last year I branched out beyond the usual berries/stone fruit and tomato sauce freezing that I usually do and also froze sweet corn and peas. I was much happier this winter because of it!

    How long can you safely keep pickled ramps?

  2. Oh, do share the empanada recipe – that sounds awesome!

    I keep my pickles and jams about a year. They may last longer, but I try to use them within 12 months.

  3. Helen says:

    What a useful regular feature! I really look forward to your suggestions. As usual at this time of year, I am drowning in rhubarb. I have 9 plants that are taking up 9 sq feet each in my small back yard. I need to take some of them out to make room for other food items. That is a lot of rhubarb pie and even more ice cream sauce. Would love any suggestions anyone has for more uses for rhubarb other than the compost pile.

    • donna says:

      I make Rhubarb Jam,or better Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.Dice the rhubarb [small] add to the strawberries ,follow the recipe for strawberries in the jelly book[one in the packages.

  4. Helen,

    I also use rhubarb in brulee, muffins and Rhubarb Newtons. I’ve also made a rhubarb-mint cooler, which was delicious. I don’t have two many savory recipes, I’ll try to craft something for my post on preserving rhubarb.


  5. I am preserving 3 items now.

    1. Dandelion jelly-Delicious, golden color and honey-like flavor

    1 Quart fresh, bright dandelion flowers
    2 quarts water
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 package powdered pectin
    5 ½ cups sugar

    Snip off stems and green collar of sepals under blossoms. Be sure you have picked in an area free of spraying and animal traffic and I feel you can simply hand swipe each blossom to clean off. Once you wash the blossoms they become very difficult to handle so I try to avoid doing that. In an enameled or stainless steel saucepan boil the petals in 2 quarts water for 3 minutes. Cool all the way down even if it takes several hours. This will impart the maximum color to the liquid. Strain through a coffee filter. Measure 3 cups dandelion liquid. Add lemon juice and pectin. You need pectin and acid for jelly to set. Bring mixture to a boil using a large jelly kettle. Add sugar all at once and stir constantly and boil at a high rolling boil for 2 ½ minutes. Turn off heat and when bubbles subside, quickly skim off any gunk from surface with metal spoon. Using wide funnel, pour into small, sterile jars(boiled for 10 minutes). Use toothpick to pierce any airholes in the jelly. Hot water bath 10 minutes.

    Makes 5 or 6 jars

    2. Violet Jelly-Beautiful, clear violet color with fruity flavor. Contains rutin, good for varicose veins(limited demographic)

    1 pint violet flowers
    juice of ½ lemon
    2 cups of sugar PER cup of juice
    3 ounces liquid pectin

    Collect enough violet flowers to fill a pint jar. Stuff the jar with as many flowers as possible. Cover the blossoms with boiling water and cover. Keep out of the bright sunshine for 24 hours. Color will appear aqua at first.

    Strain the infusion through a coffee filter, removing blossoms and debris. Place the juice in a heavy saucepan. Add the lemon juice, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add sugar and pectin. Bring to a hard boil and hold for 1 minute. Turn off heat, skim surface.

    Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. Hot water bath 10 minutes. Makes 4 ½ pint jars.

    3. French Sorrel Pesto-Delicious on pasta or soup or steamed vegetables. Store in freezer

    2 cups packed sorrel, washed and stems removed
    1/2 cup fresh parsley
    2 cloves garlic
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup chicken stock, if needed to thin

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except chicken stock. If the pesto appears too dry, add the stock.

  6. Vicki,

    Thanks for sharing. I love herb jellies. I once made tarragon jelly with a glut of the stuff. Cooked down with mustard and a little vinegar it made an awesome glaze for chicken thighs.


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