How to get the most from your ramp Harvest
If you’re lucky enough to harvest wild ramps or come across some at your local farmers market congrats! You’ll need to have a gameplan on how to prepare and preserve them for as long as possible. You only have 3-4 days from picked before they start to wither. I prepared a fantastic Charred Ramp Aioli and an outstanding Ham & cheddar Quiche but like all good things my remaining ramps lifespan was drawing to an end.
Cleaning Your Ramps
Before I got started the first order of business was to clean the ramps. I first remove the leafy green part of the ramps and thoroughly wash them in ice cold water. This helps remove any dirt then lay them out on some paper towels to dry.
Next, I take the stems of the ramps and slice off the tip of the roots before washing and rinsing in cold water. Pat the ramp stems dry and place in a clean sterile jar while you prepare the brine.
Pickling has always been a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables but can take a lot of effort. I don’t expect to get 6 months to a year out of these ramps but a month or two is all I need to enjoy them throughout spring.
There are thousands of pickling brine recipes out there but most involve a lot of sugar. Instead I went a completely different direction using Korean chili flakes, mustard and celery seed to make a Keto friendly pickle brine. To balance out the spice I used lakanto golden monkfruit to add just a subtle sweetness to the spicy pickle brine. It’s a simple process of bringing the spices to a boil in a mixture of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water. I used a combination of apple cider and rice wine vinegar but whatever you enjoy will work fine. Because the ramps can be a bit delicate I let the brine cool to room temperature before adding the liquid to a clean sanitized glass jar
. I want to note that this is a quick pickle that should be refrigerated and used within 2 months not a traditional pickle that is shelf stable. The pickled ramps are great with salads, blended in tartar sauce or Remoulade and can even be diced and sautéed in stir fry.
Almond Ramp Pesto
Now that the stems of my ramps were safe I turned my attention to the ramp leaves. Pesto is traditionally made with basil and pine nuts. I’ve found that ramps combined with roasted almonds might just be better than the classic pesto recipe. Don’t tell my Italian family I said that. Ramps are perfect for pesto because they have already have a slightly spicy garlic like flavor. The green leaves turn even brighter when blended with almonds and olive oil.
Another bonus to this recipe is how well it freezes. I portion the ramps in sandwich bags and freeze for up to a year so I can enjoy them whenever not in season. It’s probably the best way I know of to preserve the color and flavor of ramps. Even if you don’t freeze the pesto it will last for about 2 weeks in a sealed container. Ramp Pesto is the perfect condiment for fresh fish, chicken and pork. The Pesto can also be added to cream sauces and soups to really amp up the flavors. Spread ramp pesto on your favorite low carb pizza crust and top with fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. The possibilities for this recipe are truly endless.
What to put your Ramp Pesto on
Fresh fish and pesto are definitely one of my favorite ways to use this recipe. I recently grilled some beautiful swordfish fillets with charred lemons and topped the fish with that robust ramp pesto. I served it over a fantastic Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto. The delectable fish was complimented perfectly with the bright flavors of the ramp pesto. Adding a squeeze of the lemon was the “peace de resistance”. No matter what you’re grilling I guarantee that this pesto will take your dinner to another level.
Quick Pickled Ramps
- Clean and remove roots from ramp stems then place in a clean sterile jar
- Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer stirring every few minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature before pouring into the jar making sure the ramps are fully submerged.
- Store in your fridge for up to 2 months
Almond Ramp Pesto
- Once Ramp leaves are washed and patted dry rough chop the leaves into ribbons before adding to a food processor along with all other ingredients
- Pulse food processor a few times before then continue to process for 10-15 seconds until the pesto reaches the consistency you prefer.
- Taste for seasoning, then using a spatula scrape down the sides and and pulse a few more times to fully combine
- Scoop the pesto into small sandwich ziplock bags and press out as much air as possible before sealing the bag completely.
- Store fresh for up to 2 weeks or freeze up to one year.
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