While the season during which you can eat ramp greens has come and gone, the bulbs are edible through summer. As the summer progresses, the leaves become too tough to eat, but the bulbs continue to grow larger, making them perfect for pickling.
When I first had a pickled ramp, the crispy onion like bulb that tasted faintly of garlic reminded me of the Japanese vegetable rakkyo, which is usually turned into a sweet pickle. Along with the equally sweet fukushin zuke, rakkyo pickles are often served with Japanese curry as a condiment. The sweet tangy pickles and crispy texture helps balance the rich roux-thickened curry.
While I’ve been making ramp pickles for a few years now (and eating them with curry), it just occurred to me that it might be fun to infuse the pickle brine with curry flavor. Going a little heavy on the turmeric gives the bulbs a stunning yellow hue that does wonders for an earthy board of charcuterie.
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt (halve if using regular salt)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds whole
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds whole black
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 300 grams ramp bottoms (white bulbs and stems only)
- Put the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, curry powder, cumin, mustard and turmeric in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the ramps and cook for exactly one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and submerge it in a bowl of cold water until it has cooled down.
- Place the ramps and brine in a jar and allow the ramps to pickle for at least one week before eating.