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Wild Ramps, Beautiful Brassicas, and Growing Mushrooms on my Straw Bales

June 21, 2013

Pickled Ramps and Ramp Pesto!

This spring…I guess I should start saying “summer”… is really getting off to a slow start. Looking back on my garden log from last year I see that we harvested wild ramps on April 28. This season the ramps were ready for picking a good month later, around the first of June! Since everything in my garden is growing so slowly, it feels really nice to be able to do some select wild harvesting and preserving.

Wild Ramps, Potatoes, and Northern for Fish Chowder

Wild Ramps, Potatoes, and Northern for Fish Chowder

With the ramps we made some delectable fish chowder, pickled ramps, and ramp pesto. Yummm!! So green and garlicky–the taste of spring! The pesto and pickled ramp recipes came from ┬áTeresa Marrone’s book Abundantly Wild. The pesto just uses ramps instead of basil and garlic. It makes for a really strong onion flavor that I like to add to potato salad, mashed potatoes, pasta, soup, or eggs. A little goes a long way. Opening up a jar in the middle of winter is like stepping into the lush, green springtime forest. The pickled ramps recipe is gingery and sweet.

So my home garden is depressingly small for mid June. The bunny keeps eating my new strawberry plants and pea shoots. One encouraging thing is that my carrot seeds I seeded well over a month ago have finally germinated after the heat we had last week! The other highlight of the season so far is my cabin garden!

Shelling Peas, Rutabagas, and Robust Brassicas at the Cabin Garden

Shelling Peas, Rutabagas, and Robust Brassicas at the Cabin Garden

Our cabin is far enough away from the lake to make a difference! My shelling peas and rutabagas had great germination–which I worry about there since I’m not there to water and the soil is so sandy. And my pampered brassica plants look awesome at the cabin! They’re big and robust-looking with no pest issues—yet.

Straw bale experiment update: we’ve got a crop of mushrooms growing on the bales planted with potatoes. Not sure if that’s good or bad. So far I’ve seen two potato plants poking up, but not on the bales with the mushrooms. Anyone have any experience with this?

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  1. Jahn Hibbs permalink

    Love the ramp pickles – even the name is adventurous! Do you like how they turned out, and can you suggest some ways that you like to use them? I never met a pickled vegetable I didn’t like and am very curious about these!~

    • I just tasted this batch of pickled ramps for the first time yesterday (ya gotta let them mellow for a couple of weeks) and they turned out great! Sweet with some spice from the ginger and hot pepper. I cut them up and added them to my refried beans, rice, pepper, tomato and cilantro burrito. It added a really nice “zing!” Ramps are best fresh out of the woods and unadulterated. But pickled ramps (and ramp pesto) can be a great reminder of that yummy spring flavor all year round.

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