Anarchy in a Jar

The revolution starts in your mouth // Small-batch condiments made in Brooklyn

Ramps R Us: in a pickle, out of a jam

UncategorizedLaena McCarthy

WARNING: this is a post about pickles, not jam.

I know, I'm a cheater. This is a website about jam and I'm squeezing in a post about pickles. Everyone knows pickles are sexy, masculine, brutish in their flavor as they swivel their savory, salty boldness in the face of the more traditional (dare I say feminine), sweet, simple, demure jam. But whatever, I love pickles. I'm obsessed with pickles. I eat them almost every day. Thankfully, I'm friends with the best pickle maker in town, Shamus Jones of Brooklyn Brine, and he keeps me satiated.

NYC is an infectious town full of bored people ready and waiting for fads to sweep through, arouse and amuse us. Ramps are perfect for this: wild, available for only a few weeks in spring, and they must be foraged from secret places in the forest. They also come at a time when we are so bored and sick of winter and winter foods, root vegetables and apples--meh. Ramps arrive in all their green, spicy, garlicky glory at the Greenmarkets and restaurant menus--beautiful, delicious wild leeks that allow us to believe that spring is finally here.

My man went foraging last weekend with his friend who knows a super secret location in Pennsylvania (I won't even tell you which river it's beside!), and they gathered ginormous bags of ramps. We've been eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we still had a lot. So we decided to pickle them.

White vinegar, honey, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel, star anise, hot peppers, and fresh thyme. Phew! Lots of flavor. They look awesome, and once they've sat for awhile and been infused with all the seasonings, ramp season will be just a memory. But, thankfully, we'll have these pickles to reminisce with.

Still, as always, in solidarity, Jam on.