Yes, it is that time of the year again.  Ramps are on the menu and I have some new ideas for my haul this year.  I wasn't actually expecting to get as many ramps as I did.  A week ago when I did a little preliminary scouting at my typical spot the pickings were looking slim.  A few clumps were still there, but when you are harvesting ramps you have to be very careful to only take a few because they can take years to grow back.  I was planning on being conservative and only taking a few to satisfy a little craving.  When I arrived at the spot something was telling me to look a little bit further along the trail.  I knew that if I could find ramps in one spot, it was a good chance there might be some more.  Little did I know just how many more I would stumble upon. 
    I found more ramps then anyone could possibly eat in twenty lifetimes.  A sea of ramps.  In some spots I had to deliberately step so as to not trample any.  Every so often I would quietly giggled like a child with a secret.  I walked for hours just enjoying the cool spring breeze and the warm morning sun shining through the trees.  Now I could be selective, picking only the larger ramps in each bunch.  Something I noticed is that ramps that were growing on the north side of a tree, probably getting more shade then the others, were a much brighter shade of purple.  I also came across ramps with seed heads still hanging on.  I managed to collect a few of the tiny black ramp seeds.  Now the true test of my skill would be to germinate those seeds, but after doing a little reading on the subject, it does not sound easy.   
    So are you wondering why I chose ramp jam?  It is not the most attractive looking condiment I'll admit, but we all know sometimes looks can be deceiving.  I am not actually the first person to come up with ramp jam.  Blackberry Farm in eastern Tennessee, sells items such as ramp pesto, ramp kraut, pickled ramps, ramp jam and strawberry ramp jam.  Currently the ramp jam is all sold out, which is precisely why I knew I needed to make my own.  They give a list of the ingredients so it wasn't hard to to figure out how to make it. 
    I've made caramelized onions before, which is pretty much the exact same process as making onion jam.  Let me first warn you about the smell this condiment is going to make inside your kitchen, and living room, and quiet frankly the whole house once it is complete.  Just don't say I didn't warn you. 

    Now what do you put ramp jam on?  The same things you would put caramelized onions on: hamburgers, grilled meat, cheese plates, over eggs and even in a tart (just some ideas to start with).  One thing about this jam and other onion jams, is that they unfortunately have to be stored in the refrigerator.  I'm not actually sure why they can't be canned, but this recipe makes a small batch so there really is no need anyway.  If you want you can divide the recipe and freeze half to keep it a bit longer.       

Ramp Jam

makes 1 pint

2 tablespoons olive oil

15-20 ramps, sliced (bulb and leaves)
6 large onions, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup organic cane sugar
salt and pepper to taste


Sliced the onions and ramps.  In a large stockpot add two tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the sliced onions and ramps in layers.  Sprinkle the sea salt on each layer to draw the moisture out.  On the stove top, heat the stockpot over medium low.  Cook, covered until the onions start to release their moisture, about 25-30 minutes.  Periodically lift the lid and stir to prevent burning.  The mixture should deflate considerably.  When the level of moisture in the pot is about equal with the top of the onions, remove the lid.  Continue to cook uncovered, allowing the onions and ramps to slowly reduce and caramelize, about one hour.  Stir periodically to prevent burning.  Once the onions have taken on a darker shade of color and reduced by half or more, add in the red wine vinegar and cane sugar.  Increase the heat to medium and stir often until the mixture thickens, a few minutes longer (watch carefully so it does not burn).  Remove the pot from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle the ramp jam into clean jars.  I placed mine in two half pint jars.  One jar went into the freezer and one in the refrigerator.

Ramp jam will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator, and for 6+ months in the freezer.   



 


Comments

04/22/2014 8:54am

Ramp jam! I would expect nothing less from you Miss Kitchen Apparel ;) I can't believe that sea of ramps you found, how incredible. You really did a beautiful job capturing the east coast in the spring. My kids are going crazy picking those bluebell flowers... I would love to try some of this nestled in a tart! Yum!! xx

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04/22/2014 11:18am

I always loved those bluebell flowers too...it took every ounce of restraint not to pick those three. Caramelized onions or ramp jam definitely need to go in a tart ;)

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04/22/2014 10:55am

That field of ramps is a thing of beauty!! How awesome is it that you have this so close to your home! People pay ridiculous amounts of money for them at farmers markets. Super cool stuff, Sandra!

You could totally sell your ramp stash for some serious cash I'm sure!

And this ramp jam sounds amazing!!!

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04/22/2014 11:21am

I was thinking the same thing Chris...do you know how much money I could make...I was day dreaming of harvesting thousands and driving into the city to sell them to chefs looking to pay me big bucks. But I'd rather keep them all to myself!!! Since I found so many this year I might not have to kill you if I clue you into where my spot is ;)

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04/22/2014 10:59am

'More ramps than anyone could possibly eat in twenty lifetimes!' heehee, that *is* quite the haul. I can understand the giggles... I love how you are always exploring and uncovering the world around you. Your work is so refreshing and full of wonder. I feel like I am always learning from you. As for the recipe, I adore caramelized onions so this jam is right up my alley -- my husband would be all over it too. I will be pinning this spring delight for sure! Beautiful as always Sandra ♡.

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04/22/2014 11:23am

I feel the same way about you and all the other bloggers I follow. We learn so much from each other :) I'm sure you would love this jam, especially if you like caramelized onions.

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Justina
04/28/2014 10:57am

I was driving on a country road and kept pulling over to look and I too came upon so many area's with ramps. I can't help but to wonder if the winter played a part in this, we had such a bad winter with blizzard after blizzard.

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04/28/2014 2:22pm

I think you are right Justina, I keep seeing them everywhere too! If the really cold winter had anything to do with making them spread...here's hoping for harsh winters all the time!!!!

Any morels yet? I've been looking twice and haven't found any :(

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justina
05/04/2014 8:34pm

No morels yet, it has to warm up a little bit. When it start's staying steady in the low 70's and the ground warm's up, there will be morels. I will post when I start to find them :)

06/11/2014 6:34pm

Making jam from the ramps bulbs was one of the first recipes we tried to replicate, 4 years ago. We use pectin and vinegar, making a shelf stable batch of jam, and that way we can make 8 small jars at once and use them all year long! http://the3foragers.blogspot.com/2010/02/ramps-recipe-caramelized-wild-leek-and.html

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