Make Ahead

Sweet & Spicy Pickled Ramps

March 24, 2022
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 72 hours
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes 1 quart
Author Notes

The ramp is a vegetable that needs to be treated like two dishes in one plant. I chop off the leaves just below the greenery and immediately cook them in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil. They puff like jade-green blimps, and they're a fantastic side dish for steak. The stems and bulbs have a different destiny: inside a mason jar. This easy pickling recipe is based on a brine I learned from Chef Cardoz of Tabla, and it's great when used to pickle anything from cauliflower to red onions. Although the ramps are terrific in savory cocktails, we usually chop them and throw them on sandwiches or in salads. —MissGinsu

Test Kitchen Notes

You've probably heard it time and time again: Ramp season is a special season, but oh does it go by so quickly. They look like scallions, but their garlicky flavor makes them wonderful to have around and is a welcome sign of spring. But this is a way to make them last longer than the few weeks they are in season: Ramps make for terrific condiments and, it turns out, a terrific pickle. In this recipe, the sweet pickling liquid eases their feisty onion flavor and the spices hang in the back, there to support and nothing more. If you have a bunch of ramps and 10 minutes to spare, you can have a plentiful jar of ramp pickles at your fingertips.

Rebecca Firkser, assigning editor at Food52, loves ramps and wrote about them. She says, "With a slim bulb and a couple long, flat leaves, ramps, which grow in clumps, taste more pungent than scallions, yet less sharp than raw onion. But that still doesn’t quite put their majesty into words. Considering that there are a few Ramp Heads on the Food52 Editorial team, I asked for some help: 'They kind of taste like scallions on vacation. Like, if scallions were a little mellower and in a better mood, just having a good time and living their best life,' says CB Owens, copy editor. 'To me, ramps look like willowy scallions all dressed up in translucent pink stripes and feathery green headbands,' adds senior editor Jess Kapadia. 'If they were an indie rock band, they'd be called the Leafy Scallionettes, and they would shred.'” —The Editors

  • 1/2 pound ramp bulbs with stems
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 dried red chiles
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 to 3 whole cloves
In This Recipe
  1. Wash the ramp bulbs very well, discarding any loose membrane around the bulb. Make sure the leaves and roots are trimmed away.
  2. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, sugar, chiles, coriander, fennel, mustard, fenugreek, and cloves to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, place the ramp bulbs in a clean, sanitized glass quart jar.
  4. When the brine comes to a boil, carefully pour into the jar, covering the ramps. Leave at least 1 inch of space at the top of the jar, then cap tightly. Let cool, then refrigerate for 3 days.
  5. After 3 days, your ramps should be ready to enjoy on their own or as a condiment, but you can brine them for longer. They'll keep (chilled) for up to 5 months.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Midge
  • fiveandspice
  • MissGinsu
  • Denise
  • mrslarkin

12 Reviews

Jane April 28, 2019
when you say brine for longer, does that mean at room temp? And then they will last for months in the refrigerator? Could you do a water bath for longer storage?
Midge May 12, 2013
Just made my second batch of these. I practically had to ration the first batch they were so good. Look forward to trying your asparagus suggestions below.
fiveandspice May 10, 2010
I just had a sandwich with thinly sliced lamb, a little goat cheese, apricot preserves, and a nice layer of pickled ramps. FABULOUS!
MissGinsu May 12, 2010
Glad you liked 'em. I usually eat these on a juicy burger topped with some good,.sharp cheddar, but just reading the ingredient list for your sandwich is making me ravenous...

clintonhillbilly May 10, 2010
Wait step 2 mentions cloves but I didn't see them on the ingredient list. Are there supposed to be cloves?
MissGinsu May 12, 2010
I totally forgot to add the cloves! Yes. Add 2-3 whole cloves to the brine if you have them on hand. The recipe is still tasty without them, but they're a nice touch. Thanks for noticing!
Jack R. May 9, 2010
These are so tasty!
MissGinsu May 6, 2010
Hooray! I hope that the cooks who can't find ramps will try out this recipe with sliced red onions or the white sections of scallions, because ramps are sometimes tough to track down, and it'd be a shame to miss out on the fun of super-quick pickling.
Denise May 6, 2010
Perfect. I love a good pickle. Congrats!
mrslarkin May 6, 2010
Congrats! These sound very yummy.
MissGinsu April 29, 2010
Thanks! The brine makes a really nice vinaigrette, too. It's sweet and sour and good for drizzling over grilled asparagus.
gluttonforlife April 28, 2010
These look fantastic! I am trying immediately.