Rampage: Part Pickle (with Baked Bean Bonus)

May 19, 2010

I tend to be a little scared of pickled foods that were not formerly cucumbers. Interesting tidbit: in the grocery store I shopped at in Glasgow, they had a whole wall of pickled items, which was across from the entire wall of baked beans - there were like a BAJILLION varieties of baked beans - it would blow your mind. One time, this (American) girl I knew in Scotland won a push-up contest at a bar, and she won her weight in baked beans. That is how seriously the Scots take their baked beans.

But - back to pickles.

So, at the grocery store, I once asked where the pickles were. The sales associate was confused - "Pickled what?" Because they pickle everything there. In fact, in the winter, people there drink so much they become pickled.

But as I've come to love my Shelburne Farms cookbook as much as a brotha from anotha motha, after seeing this ramp pickle recipe I really wanted to try my hand at non-cucumber pickles. And now I've made it three times in two years. It's super easy, and makes the ramp season last just a little bit longer. They are a little spicy, a little onion-y, and tangy and delicious. Eat them with anything you'd eat a regular pickle with - on the side of a sandwich for lunch, on top of a burger, as an interesting accoutrement to a cheese plate, etc.

Ramp Pickles, from Cooking with Shelburne Farms

20 or so ramps, trimmed so there is just about 1 inch of greens
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (I used aleppo pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 bay leaf

Blanch the ramps in boiling water for two minutes. Immediately transfer to an ice water bath to stop the cooking.

In a small saucepot, heat the vinegar, honey, sugar, hot pepper, peppercorns, fennel, coriander, and bay leaf to a simmer.

Put the ramps in a clean jar big enough to hold all the liquid (and the ramps). So - back to the recipe - pour the hot liquid over the ramps. Only once it cools down (this will take a few hours) do you want to cover it with the lid, then pop it in the fridge for at least 12 hours before eating. The recipe says they'll last a month in the fridge.

 Bonus photo: the wall of baked beans at a Scottish grocery store


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