Pickled Wild Leeks

by

Kelly Rossiter Photo
Kelly Rossiter

Difficulty Level Easy

Any of you who have been following my columns both here on Planet Green and on TreeHugger for the past two weeks know that there has been a bit of a wild leek orgy at my house. Wild leeks (or ramps) have such a short season, that you really have to get them as soon as you see them.

Wild leeks have a much earthier taste, with a hint of garlic, which I find much more interesting that cultivated leeks. Not only that, you can use every inch of them. Both the bulb and the greens are good to eat, and this week I used the roots in some vegetable stock I was making. People always ask me how I use them, and generally speaking, I use them everywhere I would use onions. Of course, there are also lots of recipes that specifically showcase their flavour, such as the Wild Leek Biscuits I made last week.

This recipe uses only the bulbs, because the greens don't hold up, they just get slimy. Don't throw the greens away though, make a pesto with them, or put them over top of grilled fish or chicken.

This recipe is from Toronto Chef Keith Froggett in The Globe and Mail from April 16, 2008. The recipe calls for 3 pounds of wild leeks, but they have become so popular over the past couple of years that the price at the farmers' market has sky rocketed, and I couldn't afford that many leeks. I started out with 2 pounds of whole leeks which translated into 1 pint of pickled bulbs.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds cleaned wild leeks, white part only
½ cup kosher salt
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon whole celery seeds
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon mustard seed
4 cups cider vinegar

PREPARATION:

  1. Cover leeks with cold water, add ¼ cup salt. Leave for 24 hours in refrigerator. Drain off water and rinse leeks.
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a stainless-steel pot, bring to a boil, add leeks, return to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Pack in sterilized jars and place in a water bath for 10 minutes.
  4. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
This recipe appears in: Snacks
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