This will be the last of the ramps posts for at least a day or two, I promise. Activities around here the last couple days have been focussed on dealing with the purchases we made on our weekend trip to the mountains. Happily, everything has been dealt with with zero spoilage or waste.
The strawberries were the first order of business. I didn’t feel like tackling them when we got home from our 12 hour trip so I laid two bottles of frozen water in the sink and set the gallon punnet of strawberries on top to keep cool until morning. First thing in the morning I washed, trimmed and dried the strawberries, arranged them in a single layer on trays and froze them before packing in freezer bags and storing in the freezer. I was afraid the strawberries on the bottom would be crushed by their own weight but there was not a spoiled strawberry in the lot.
Ramps have a short shelf life. The leaves are very quick to wilt and look unappealing. By placing the ramps on the porch overnight in a bucket with a couple inches of water they remained as fresh as when purchased.
Cleaning, trimming and processing the ramps involved a number of hours the next day and a few more the following day. The leaves are the most perishable so I dealt with them first. After washing, trimming and roughly chopping the leaves I flash froze some of them by spreading them on trays, putting them in the freezer for an hour or so before vacuum bagging and returning them to the freezer.
The rest of the ramps leaves I blended in a food processor with olive oil, kosher salt and a little vinegar. The blended result was placed in small containers to be frozen and used later for pesto and other purposes.
Having dealt with the ramps leaves I turned my attention to the bulbs. I decided to pickle them by means of lactobacillus fermentation. I packed a quart jar with as many ramps as would fit with the bulb facing down and stem up, then inserted as many as would fit with stem down and bulb facing up. The idea was to pack them in so tightly that when the brine was poured in there would be no chance of any them floating to the surface. It is crucial for the veggies being fermented to be completely submerged. It was helpful to lay the jar on its side for the first phase of loading the jar.
To make the brine I dissolved approximately 2 teaspoons of sea salt in 2 cups of filtered water. To allow fermentation gasses to escape and keep undesirable bacteria out I screwed a lid on loosely over a paper towel. The ramps will be left to ferment at room temperature for two weeks or more unless impatience gets the best of me.
There was still a good many ramps left. I decided to pickle them with vinegar since there are plenty of frozen ramps from last year leftover in the freezer. After loading the ramps into a jar I poured a hot solution of vinegar, water with a little sugar and salt over them. I had decided not to use any spices but changed my mind and added a peeled turmeric rhizome into the jar. These vinegar pickled ramps will be left in the refrigerator for a few day to allow the flavors to develop before sampling… or not.
The honeymoon melon is still ripening on the table and beginning to exude a sweet aroma. It might be ready to eat by morning.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the garlic knots we brought home. They went directly into the freezer since we have enough garlicky/oniony stuff going on with the ramps.