It has been a while since I made this - as ramps are spring wild plants, but I thought I'd share this Korean pickling recipe with you all.
You can use any vegetables (wild, if available) such as ramps, onions, scallions, cucumbers, chayote squashes, garlic scapes, perilla leaves, water celery, or jalapeno peppers. I used ramps here because where I live now, the Appalachian region in North Carolina, ramps are wildly grown and can be easily found at a local farmers market, parks, hiking trails, etc. in spring. As ramps are also traditional wild plants in Korea, I knew exactly what to do with them. I used my mom's methods of pickling our favorite spring and summer vegetables, which is to use soy sauce in place of salt. You really don't need a recipe if you know the ratio - equal parts of water, soy sauce, and vinegar, and half sugar (1:1:1:0.5).
If you want to be more creative, you can use broth instead of plain water. I made the broth with some dried kelp and dried shitake mushrooms to enhance the umami flavor.
My family enjoys these pickled ramps with their BBQ porks. I like these with grilled tofu, Korean savory pancakes, or just on some plain rice. Please comment if you've tried these. I would love to know what you like to pair them with. —Lauren Jun, MS, RD
To make the broth, place dried kelp and mushrooms in a large pot with 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the kelps.
Wash and dry all of the ramps. Cut off the bulb and separate out each leaf.
Place the leaves and the bulbs in a clean pickling jar.
In the same pot with the broth, add in the remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil.
Pour the hot brine into the pickling jar. Make sure that all of the leaves submerge. Close the jar and leave it out overnight.
On the following day, pour the brine (just the liquid) back into the large pot and bring it to a boil. This time, cool it before pouring it back to the jar. This process makes the leaves to stay nice and crunchy instead of being mushy and texture-less. Once cool, pour it back into the jar and close.
Keep it in the fridge for at least 10 days before consumption.