Along the Grapevine

Lacto-Fermented Ramps

32 Comments

For this week’s Fiesta Friday, I had planned to bring a beautiful purple drink made of dog violets which are growing everywhere around me today. They are so beautiful, and I wanted to preserve them in a festive way. I spent much time picking them, then I candied some which are still drying and that was a job and half in itself. I then made syrup which is something less than the remarkable blue I was aiming for. Here are some pictures of how I spent my morning. It was entertaining, but for nought.

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In the meantime, I was ready to try my latest experiment – lacto-fermented ramps, which I hadn’t even intended to write about but they proved to be so good I wanted to share it with Angie’s guests, especially those who like me have never preserved anything this way before.

Lacto-fermentation is an age-old method of preserving which actually makes good food even better and more nutritious. The sugars in the food feed on bacteria that grow in the fermentation process, which converts the sugar to lactic acid and gives you all those great probiotics we hear much about.

There are so many recipes out there for fermenting just about anything you can think of, and such a variety of methods, I wasn’t quite sure I would be up for the task. Luckily for me, one article said all you needed besides the food you were fermenting was water, salt and clean jars. So that is all I used for this first foraged foray.

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Fresh Ramp Leaves

I sliced all my ramp leaves into strips, lay them on a large casserole dish and sprinkled salt on each layer. For about 4 cups of ramps, I used 2 tsp of fine sea salt. I let them sit for about 4 hours, hoping that the salt would draw out water. I even pressed them a little with a wooden spoon, but they remained pretty dry.

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Leaves after a couple of hours mixed with salt

I then stuffed them in a sterilized jar, pressing them down as I did so as not to leave any air pockets. Then I covered them with non-chlorinated water, put a weight (a small glass jar) on top and covered them loosely with a lid. Every day, I checked that none of the green was surfacing and pressed the weight down a little if they were. After about three days I noticed a few white bubbles on the top which indicates that fermentation is happening. Finally today, the ninth day, I decided to give them a try. This jar below is not the one they were fermented in, which is why you can see air bubbles.

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Fermented Ramps 9 Days Old

I knew I was onto something because they were delicious. The flavour of the ramps was intensified by this process, and they were a little more tangy than the steamed or fried ones I had tried just a week before. I could have added interesting spices and other flavours, but for my first attempt, wanted to make sure I understood the process. I served them just as they were, although I had several thoughts on how they could be used in other recipes – quiche, pizza, spreads and soups to name a few.

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Fermented Ramps with Scrambled Eggs

Maybe it was beginner’s luck, but I am so excited about all the possibilities this has opened up to me and look forward to continuing to experiment with this super economical and healthful method of preservation. Sadly, no more ramps this season, but as other plants mature in my garden, there should be plenty of new ingredients to keep me busy.

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Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

32 thoughts on “Lacto-Fermented Ramps

  1. Yum! I love that word “dog violets” and sorry you didn’t get to use them as planned, but these ramps look so chewy and sour and delicious! Funny, every once in a while when I don’t get the color I was hoping for I consider for a moment going out and buying food coloring!!!!

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  2. gosh you have so many wild foods we dont have x

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  4. Beautiful Hilda! I am going to learn so many new recipes in this fiesta.

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  5. delicious recipe!! congratulations! greetings from italy Simi

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  6. Wow, Hilda, this is a whole new world to me, they look so interesting!! What do they taste like??
    Thank you so much for bringing these along to Fiesta Friday and sharing them with this weeks guests ☺️ Enjoy the party x

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  7. As will we all. I have already bookmarked two to make for this weekend.

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  8. Well the photos of the dog violets are beautiful anyway!😉 And I’m ready to try your ramps! Happy Fiesta Friday!

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  9. I’ve never heard of ‘ramps’ before, so thank you for this – I’m with FireBonnet – ready to try your ramps!
    Happy Fiesta!
    Emma 🙂

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  10. Fermented greens! Great idea, although I thought it needed a starter culture. So, it can be done without it?

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    • I also thought it needed whey or something. While I am interested to try the slightly more complicated one, I was pleased to be able to begin with something so easy. I think you will find other such recipes under vegan fermentation recipes – have yet to check them out myself, but intend to continue my research on it. Hope you try some.

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  11. Love the violets! I don’t get them here, not in my backyard at least. I’ve seen some purple in the wooded area behind my yard, but too afraid to get in there. Too dark for my liking. I haven’t even found ramps this year. I need to hustle. I made pickled dandelion buds that turned out amazing! Taste just like capers. Have you tried?

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    • I just read about the dandelion buds. I gather they can be fermented or just soaked in brine. It sounds like a good idea – I am always looking for caper substitutes. Maybe I’ll give it a try if my back holds out with all that picking.

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      • I can tell you it is a keeper, Hilda. I just put them in a jar, poured apple cider vinegar and salt, that’s it. About 2 weeks later, they’re done, and they lose much of their bitterness, if not all. I regret not making more. You really have to try.

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  12. violets look beautiful had no idea you could eat them? ramps not sure what that is either, looks like hard work. Love foraging, I recently had sea grass which was great and also foraged, atlhough not by me though.

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  13. Your violets are so beautiful, Hilda🙂 You are so lucky to have such a wonderful flowers around your house!

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  14. Very unusual – I really like the sound of this though. I wonder if it would work with baby leeks as I don’t have access to ramps. The violets are beautiful -would love to see what you ended up with! Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday!

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    • I would think baby leeks would work very well, although I haven’t tried myself. My leeks are still embryos. I am going to try it with other greens though.

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  15. Hilda, what an exciting process to learn about. I know nothing about lacto-fermentation and it’s fun to learn something new here. Those ramps look great with the eggs, and the dog violets are pretty to look at, even if they didn’t turn out for you.

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  16. How interesting! It sounds delicious! I will have to go on a hunt for ramps next year so I can pick some and I would love to try this🙂

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  17. Wow this looks so interesting! I have never fermented anything before but this looks yummy!

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    • Thanks. I hope you do try them. I think you would be surprised at just how tasty there are. I have a couple more things brewing in the kitchen, and lots more ideas.

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