Ramp season is drawing to a close. The few I picked this week had yellowing leaves and huge bulbs; by this weekend, the season will be over for another year. But the basement pantry is well-stocked with jars of pickled ramps and ramp kimchi so that we can savor the stench of spring in the winter, when the taste reminds us that February is always followed by March, and never by another February.
Both recipes this year are new ones. Here they are:
- 1 long white napa (Chinese) cabbage, about 1 lb 3 oz
1 cup coarse or pickling salt
5 cups (1 liter) water
1 small long white radish, about 5 oz (160 g), cut in 1 1/2 in (4-cm) julienne strips
1 cup ramp bulbs
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 1/2 cup chili powder (Korean, not the stuff for making chili you buy at Kroger)– Or 3/4 cup chili powder and 3/4 papriki for a kimchi that won’t burn your face off
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3oz pickled shrimp
3oz salted anchovies
1 large bowl to hold cabbage while soaking in water
Remove root end of cabbage without separating the leaves. Put all the salt in a large bowl and add 4 cups (1 liter) water. Stir to dissolve all the salt in bowl and wter. Fit the cabbage into bowl adding water if necessary so it is covered. Place several heavy plates as weights on top of the cabbage and let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Drain the cabbage and rinse under running water, and squeeze dry.
In a seperate bowl, combine all other ingredients and mix well. The red chili paste should look like the bottom left photo so your ingredient amount can vary slightly regarding the red chili powder. Slightly separate the cabbage leaves and pack them well with the radish mixture. Pack well into glass jar and press firmly to remove air bubbles. Cover jar tightly. If you decided to cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces before adding chili paste that is fine. You can cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces before soaking in brine water as well. Just a matter of personal taste.
Once thoroughly mixed, fill the jars with the Kimchi and seal with lids. Allow the jar to sit in a dark room temperature area for 2-3 days. Follwoing this early fermentation process place jar in the refrigerator and return to the fridge after each serving.
Important: Never use a reactive metal container to store kimchi; use porcelain or stainless steel. Plastic will be permanently stained by chili. Store kimchi in a cool, dark place – a fridge is best.
Cloved Ramp Pickles
1. Clean ramps, keeping bulbs only. Pack tightly in jars.
2. Add 1/4 teaspoon alum to each pint.
3. Bring liquid mixture to boil, pour over ramps.
4. Continue making liquid, enough to cover all ramps to be pickled.
5. Process sealed jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes to seal lids.