Preserving Wild Ramps

Wild Ramps, also referred to as Wild Leeks, are an amazing spring treat that grows in the wooded areas around the same time that morals (mushrooms) and Pheasant Back Mushrooms start to peek out.  April to the end of May these wonderful natural treats cover select patches of wooded areas.  They originally were gathered and enjoyed in the Appalachia Areas (that I know of).   Ramps taste like sweet garlic.  Some people say they taste like green onion, but to me they are more garlic.

This year my husband and I went foraging and were blessed with an abundance of Ramps and some Pheasant Back mushrooms.

Since I work in the city all week, I long for my evenings and weekends in the country.  I love coming home to simplicity, and it doesn’t get much more simple than this.  Enjoying the gifts strait from God.  The wonderful afternoon hike proved to be more than just good for my soul, but it provided a bountiful addition to our pantry.

We love both of these items fresh, but honestly their natural shelf life is not very long.  So what to do with all the wonderful goodies, without over eating or worse, wasting them?

My favorite recipe this year is Pickled Ramps.  A very good friend of mine from church sent me a link for a recipe she uses for her pickled radishes.  I’ve tweaked it a tad to include water bath canning time and preferred taste:

Recipe 1:  Spicy Pickled Ramps  (Makes 2 pints)

Preparation:  Clean your ramps.  Wash thoroughly, peel away the outer layer, cut off the roots and just below the leaves.  (Keep your leaves separated for the next recipe)

 

Once you have your ramps ready, pack them tightly in clean and sterilized Pint Canning jars.  I pack mine to where there is a layer bulb down and a layer bulb up so that they are nice and tight but not squished.

In EACH Pint Jar Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of whole mustard seed.

Set the jars two the side, while your water bath canner is heating up.

Off to the side on another stove burner in a Simmering Pot Add:

  • 3/4 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar (canning grade)
  • 3/4 cups of Water
  • 2 teaspoons of canning salt
  • 3 tablespoons of raw honey

Heat your liquid mixture, constantly stirring until it is boiling.  Make sure you don’t stop stirring so your honey doesn’t scorch.

Pour your liquid over your ramps in your jars until the ramps are covered (1/2 inch head space for the jar).

Wipe down your jar rims from any splash.

Place your lids on the jars and tightly (but not like Hercules tightly) put on your rims.

Place the jars one by one in your water bath canner.  Water should be one inch over your jars after all jars are loaded into your canner.

Once your canner comes to a boil, you will want it to remain boiling for 20 minutes.

At the sound of the timer, the end of twenty minutes, I turn off the heat to the canner and let it sit until the boil is gone.  Then using canning tongs I take my jars out and put them on a clean covered area where they can cool for the next 12 hours.  Each sealed jar will give you that wonderful “POP”.  Let cool for 12 hours and put away in the pantry.

These are best if you can wait 5 days before opening, however, we opened one jar 24 hours after it was canned, we couldn’t stand it any longer, and it was absolutely heavenly.

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Refrigerate after you break the seal.

Recipe #2: Dehydrated Ramps

Remember when I said, don’t throw away those leaves?  Well here is why, they make yummy soup & stew & Stock greens.  Using your dehydrator (or oven on the lowest temperature), spread your leaves out and dry, then crumble up.

For the bulbs, we slice thin and put in the dehydrator at 100 degrees for overnight (or until they crumble).  Dehydrated ramp bulbs are so yummy to just eat like chips if you like garlic, which we do.  They are also perfect for dried goods for your pantry to be used anywhere you would use leeks, garlic or green onion.

We have a Vac-u-Sealer with a lid attachment, so we put our dehydrated goods in a canning jar, then using the lid attachment vac-seal the jar.  This is a great way to store without crushing your dehydrated goods.  NOTE:  You must use a clean jar and a clean canning lid each time you seal the jar.  You can not reuse lids.20180508_200148742386972.jpg

We also cleaned, diced and stored our Pheasant Back mushrooms this way with the dehydrator and the vac-u-sealer with the lid attachment.  The centers will be used for stew and soup stock while the tender outer areas will be used for pretty much anything.

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I really hope you enjoy this recipe and ideas to use what you have and venture out into nature to enjoy the beauty and bounty provided there.

But remember this, don’t take more than YOU can use.  Don’t be greedy.  Use a netted bag when collecting mushrooms (that way the spores will fall to the ground and make more next year).  Leave plenty for the animals and nature.  Oh and if you don’t know for sure if something is not edible, don’t eat it.  😉

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

 

 

 

Pickled Brussel Sprouts or Cauliflower

With the growing season coming to an end there seems to be an abundance of brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, squash.  The Autumn veggies.

Cabbage always gets put into fermentation crocks to become saurkraut, but what to do with brussel sprouts and cauliflower? Pickling.  This recipe will give you great treats to enjoy all winter as a side, salad or snack.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of brussel sprouts or Cauliflower (I don’t mix these two together in the same jars).
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 5 cups of water
  • 6 tbsp canning salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic spit
  • 1 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 5 sterluzed pint jars with canning lids/rings

Directions

  • Split your sprouts in half and remove the end ‘nubs’. Soak in water. About 5 min.
  • Split your cauliflower into small florets. Soak in water. About 5 minutes.
  • In a large pot bring your vinager, water, salt, sugar and pepper flakes to a rolling boil.
  • In each (hot) sterilized jar place one whole garlic clove split (2 halved).
  • Pack each jar with your brussel sprouts or Cauliflower leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  • Fill with hot vinager solution leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Use spacer tool to work out air bubbles.
  • Clean rims of jars.
  • Apply lids and rings.
  • Water bath can for 15 minutes after reaching canning temperature.
  • Cool.  Wait for the “pop”.  Make sure they seal.
  • Let set for 24 hours before moving to storage.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs Kay L Rice

The Best Spicy Pickled Eggs

The Very BEST Spicy Pickled Eggs

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By now you know that here at the Rice household, we love a little kick to our foods, from my husband’s homemade hot sauces, to our home made jams to our food in general.

A treat from our childhood is Pickled Eggs!  Yup, it may sound weird but I bet y’all have seen them in bars, stores, country places.  There are Beet Eggs (pink/purple), mustard eggs (yellow), Cider Vinegar eggs (kind of a cider color), but my favorite are SPICY PICKLED EGGS.  Yum!  Please note that the picture you see here, has already been opened and enjoyed… It barely made the 3 week mark.

Here is my recipe, and yes, this is a water bath canning recipe.  If y’all don’t want to mess with the water bath canning then stick them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks before digging into them.  Canning them lets you keep them in the pantry until you are ready to dig in!

Ingredients (for a one gallon batch):

  • A bunch of hard boiled (solid) eggs.  Since I like to can in gallon jars, I make about two dozen.   Make sure your hard boiled eggs are not “split” and that the yokes are solid, they can not be soft or runny.
  • Quart or Gallon canning jar
  • 1/4 cup of sriracha sauce
  • 4 whole cloves (crushed) garlic
  • Peppers.  I used 2 Roasted Mexican Hatch, 1 red habanero and 2 green habaneros oh and a red jalapeno I had on hand. Chopped but not so fine that they disappear.  I like big pieces.
  • White Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Like I stated above, make sure your hard boiled eggs are firm all the way through.  Do not use squishy or one minute eggs, this would be very, very bad.
  2. Take your sterilized jar/jars and in the bottom, put your peppers, your crushed whole garlic, and your sriracha sauce.
  3. Now put in your hard boiled eggs (yes the shells off and rinse them).
  4. Place them in the jar until it fills about 1 1/2 inches from the top but don’t squish them down, let them lay naturally on top of each other.
  5. Now fill the jar up with the vinegar until you have your eggs covered and it should be 1/2 an inch form the top.
  6. Wipe of the jar rim and place your lid and ring on TIGHT.
  7. Now if you are not wanting to can them, put them in the refrigerator and AVOID the urge to break into them before the 3 week mark.  The longer they sit, the better they are.
  8. But If you have lots of eggs (gotta love it when the hens are working overtime) you will want to water bath can.
  9. Get your canner with enough water to cover the lid by 1 inch of water.  Make sure it won’t spill out when boiling.  Because of this you may want to use quart jars.
  10. Lower your jars in the water bath canner and put the lid on.
  11. Once your canner comes to a rolling boil, start timing.
  12. Quarts need 20 minutes of a water bath, gallons need 30 minutes.
  13. When the time is up, very gently remove your jars from the canner and place somewhere where they won’t be disturbed for 24 hours.
  14. The pops mean you have a good seal.
  15. Anything that hasn’t sealed put in the refrigerator and those will be the first you eat.
  16. After 24 hours, you can move your jars to your pantry until you are ready to dig in and enjoy!
  17. Once the jar is opened, I always put them in the refrigerator, but trust me they really don’t last long because they get eaten up pretty fast.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know how you like it.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Rice!

 

Cowboy Candy (Pickled Hot Peppers)

If you know my husband you know that there are always hot peppers in this house and in a high percentage of our meals. So when we were blessed with a big vegetable box filled with a wide range of hot peppers we were in heaven. But what to do with this wide range of different types of peppers created a moment of pause. Then it came to me Pickled Hot Peppers aka Cowboy Candy!

My husband absolutely loved the outcome so here is the recipe. Since it’s pickling peppers, it’s water bath canning to preserve!  

Cowboy Candy (Pickled Mixed Hot Peppers)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb mixed hot peppers sliced (Wear gloves & yes, keep the seeds in the pepper slices)
  • 2/3 cups Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds (whole)
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ground
  • 1/4 garlic powder

This makes 2 pints or 4 half-pints. 

Make sure you sterilize and prep your jars, lids & water bath canner as you normally do to water-bath can.

Directions

  1. Put on latex gloves!!!!!!!! Do not touch your face! 😨😨😨😨
  2. Slice your mixed peppers into rings keeping the seeds inside the rings. 
  3. In a large pot mix your vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seed, cayenne pepper and garlic powder together.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. 
  6. Make sure you are stirring the mixture through these steps so the sugar doesn’t scorch.
  7. Add in all the peppers.
  8. Simmer and stir for another 5 minutes.
  9. Carefully fill your jars leaving 1/4 headspace.
  10. Wipe the rims clean, add your lids, place in your water-bath canner. 
  11. Make sure the water is at least 1 inch over your tallest jat.
  12. After reaching a rolling boil your canning time is 15 minutes.
  13. When time is up remove from heat.
  14. Take jars out of canner and place in a quiet, stable, cool area.
  15. When you hear the pop the jar sealed. 
  16. Leave to cool overnight.

My husband loves these peppers! He has them on sandwiches, as a side even in scrambled eggs!  I’d love to hear your comments on them. 

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice