Pickled Ramps

Pickled Ramps

Eat your vegetables.

Funny how these three words stand for such an eye-rolling thing—let’s be honest, both in the cooking and the coercing required to get them down the hatch of ourselves or others. Thankfully, David Chang understands this. The potty-mouthed, pork-crazed, much-ballyhooed chef of Momofuku fame has something of a penchant for quick pickles, and his rendition of pickled ramps is no exception. And we do mean quick; this recipe takes just five minutes to toss together (honest), doesn’t require canning (hurrah), and is likely to disappear just as quickly as it came together (here’s the voice of experience). They make an all-too-ephemeral ramps season everlasting, although given this quick pickle’s charms, your ramps may still disappear all too soon.

Chang relies on pickled ramps as a revelatory garnish to eggs sunny side up. We find the slightly tart ramps equally impressive slipped onto burgers, draped atop pulled pork sandwiches, or cozied up alongside a proper roast chicken or steak and potatoes. Be sure to make ample batches, as they’ll need to see you through the 48 or so weeks each year when ramps aren’t in season. The technique works equally well with look-alike scallions.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC The Spice Is Right Note

Chang’s pickled ramps recipe is sufficiently simple to ensure the essence of the pungent wild leeks known as ramps remains unsullied. However, he does add just a pinch of Japanese seven spice powder, known as shichimi tōgarashi or sometimes as nanami tōgarashi. A mashup of orange peel, black, white and toasted sesame seeds, cayenne, ginger, Szechuan pepper and nori, it has no substitute. If this ingredient is beyond your means, consider simply doing without. Chang probably wouldn’t consider it optional for his pickled ramps, though we’ll look the other way.

Pickled Ramps

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Servings vary
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  • 1 pound ramps or scallions, preferably slender ones
  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch Japanese seven spice powder (shichimi tōgarashi or nanami tōgarashi; optional but before you skip it see LC The Spice Is Right Note above)


  • 1. Trim the root ends of the vegetables. If the greens are wilted or so large as to be unwieldy, trim them where they meet the white bulbous portion. Place the ramps or scallions in a bowl.
  • 2. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the ramps or scallions and let cool to room temperature.
  • 3. Tuck the ramps or scallions in a jar or several jars, swirling the greens around the inside, and add enough liquid to cover. Screw on the lid(s) and refrigerate for no more than a week. The pickle flavor will become more prominent as the days go by.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This was a new foray into what I thought was the daunting world of pickling. Turns out, it’s super easy, and yields great results. I happened to have seasoned rice vinegar at home, so I omitted half of the sugar. I wasn’t quite sure how to trim the ramps, so I cut them into pieces about 3 inches long— I guess I could’ve left them whole, too. I’ve been sampling my pickled goods every day for a week now, and boy, do they get better with age! They’re delicious on their own as a crunchy snack, or mixed into Japanese rice dishes. I’ve also snuck them into salads for a crisp, acidic element.


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  1. What does “refrigerate for no more than a week” mean? Do you have to eat them all within a week, or put them in the pantry after a week? Or process them and then put them in the pantry. I’m going to try them this week, as they sound awesome. Thank you!!

    1. You guessed correctly, spbmag1@aol.com. Since these are effectively quick pickles—meaning they’re not hot-water processed and thus not technically pickles—they’re not safe to put up as-is in the pantry. If you make them as-is per the recipe, you do need to consume them within a week as they’re not safe to keep longer. But yes, you can process the jars of ramps in hot water per your usual canning technique and then stash them in the pantry. We’ll be waiting to hear what you think….

      1. Thanks Renee! I will let you know if I decide to put some on the shelf. I still have a question about the refrigeration – the instructions say for ‘no more’ than a week. What happens after a week? I not sure if there is a reason why you wouldn’t want to eat them after a week, or what? Thanks!!

        1. It’s a conservative estimate, the one week, simply because it’s a fresh vegetable and hasn’t been sterilized and there is the potential, as with all food stored for a matter of some time, for spoilage to occur, even in the fridge.

          1. Thanks – I understand now (head slap). For some reason, I was thinking the vinegar would act as a preservative for a bit longer, but I see now where they should be treated as any other leftover. Thanks for being so patient with me!

  2. Not sure I’ve ever heard of or seen ramps before (that I can recall anyway). Sounds like they’d be delicious, though, since I do love scallions and pickles, as well as putting as many toppings on my burgers and sandwiches as possible. Never actually pickled anything in recipe contests in the past before either. Thanks for sharing – will have to try this soon!

    1. My guess is yes, LCD, although I’m not certain. I’m inquiring, but in the meantime, bear in mind that the beauty of a simple pickle recipe such as this is the ease with which it can be tweaked, whether you wish to lend it a slight kick from hot pepper or the warmth of mustard seeds or any combination of pickling spice…

  3. Love the recipe!  A friend of mine throws in a few small garlic cloves and a couple of hot Thai peppers for some extra zing.

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