Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pickling Season Begins

So, every year the ramps are pretty much the first sign of "get ur pickle on". 
I'm still waiting for one of my foragers to show up at my door with 400lbs worth. 
Its a task for anyone to get that amount, i think you would probably need 10 people to do it in one sitting. The other day i managed to pickle 10lbs. Ramps are delicate, especially early in the season. I prefer to ferment then pour a hot pickle over, only it takes time. 
For this one, i did a very simple pickle, water, a bit of salt, fresh dill, lots of mustard seed, and chili. No need to add garlic or onion when doing ramps for obvious reasons. 
A little trick when fermenting. Add some base brine to a bag, so that when you skin the skum that rises, you can refill out of the bag and it also acts as a weight to keep things submerged.
Dont forget to rinse the bag on the outside each time you skim.
A new pickle ive never tried. This is a indian spiced broccoli. Lots of white wine vinegar, fresh grated garlic, ginger, dill seed, purple mustard seed, cumin. I always like to try using the whole vegetable when trying something new, so i cut the stalks into baton's and through them in the pickle. 
Also new for me. Pickled grapes. Strictly white wine vinegar, lots of tarragon, celery leaves, and spices like cinnamon, all spice, and bay. They should be ready in a month or so. 


Unknown said...

I'd be interested to know your intentions for those pickled grapes...

When I was in Chicago last year we ate at a great little place called Mercat Ala Planxa that had a cocktail built around pickled grapes, gin and rosemary.

It's probably not the first thing I'd order from a bar again, but it was definitely unique.

Chef Ed said...


Wish I weren't in the restaurant business and were back in the days when I was flying in to Toronto every week on my way to Waterloo. I'd love to come eat at the Hoof, but it's not likely in the near future.

Pickles and charcuterie are a big part of my repertoire down here in Virginia, so I love reading about what you're doing.

Keep writing when you feel like it.

All my best,

Ed Matthews
One Block West Restaurant
Winchester, Virginia