Ramson sauerkraut

Ramson sauerkraut

By
From
Deep South
Makes
2 x 450g jars
Photographer
Andy Sewell

With spring comes one of my favourite and most versatile ingredients from the forest floor, a type of wild garlic-onion known as ramps in North America and ramsons, in the UK. The American variety has a more pronounced onion flavour and is often harvested with the root, which is used primarily for pickling. Its European cousin has a stronger garlic flavour profile, with narrower roots that are often left in the ground, as the leaves are more prized for use in sauces. Each year I find myself rushing to preserve as many of them as possible before they disappear. One of my favourite treatments is to ferment them like a simple sauerkraut.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg ramson leaves
25g sea salt

Method

  1. Sprinkle the ramson leaves with the salt and massage it in with your fingers. Leave to rest at room temperature for an hour, until they are releasing their juices.
  2. Pack the leaves and all the liquid into a sterilised airtight container (a Tupperware box or a glass or ceramic jar is fine). Weight the ramsons down by covering the surface with baking parchment topped with a plate, then a weight, such as a can of beans. The wilting leaves should be completely submerged under the juices and cut off from oxygen at the surface. Store at 12–16°C for 3–5 days, until they have soured in taste. You will notice that they change colour from bright green to a deep hunter’s green – an indication that they are pickling and close to being ready. Taste will determine the point at which you need to store them – more or less sour, according to your preference. When the time comes, seal the container and place in the fridge or a cooler area such as a cellar. The sauerkraut should keep for 6–9 months.
Tags:
American
Southern cooking
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