Yet another application for the wild ramps. I have been reading about kraut and kimchi. I love both, and as I thought about all the ramp greens I had, it made sense to get some of this going. Of course I’m not inventing anything new, but thinking about how delicate ramp leaves are, I envisioned the greens withering down into a soft green mass after salting, pounding and stuffing tight into jars.
I grabbed a head of cabbage and shredded just as I would when I make sour kraut. Then, I chopped all the ramp greens into 1-2″ pieces and mixed well. I specifically wanted to have more ramp greens than cabbage. The cabbage was just there to add structure and crunch. I had a total weight of 2843g of ramp greens and cabbage, and to that, I settled on 3% salt.
I put everything into a 5g clean bucket to pound it down. The idea here is to bruise everything up and get it to create its own brine. There should be no need to add any water. I made two variations. The first was cabbage, ramps and caraway seed. The other was the same, plus some shredded carrots and dill.
Give everything a mix and make sure the salt is evenly distributed. The brine will release pretty quickly, so it also helps to get things integrated. Finally, pack everything tightly into jars. I save a few whole cabbage leaves to use on the top, just under my weight. The idea is to keep everything under the surface of the brine. This prevents mold from growing. If you do this right, it’s one of those things you’ll be able to set and forget until it’s done. I do use the special lids that have an air vent in the top for wide mouth mason jars. This particular set comes with 4 lids, 4 glass weights and a tamper to pack the kraut down in the jars. Crocks are great, but for smaller test batches of stuff, using wide mouth jars is less maintenance. I always have a jar of kraut ready to open. Having it in multiple jars keeps the smell and bugs down… and I NEVER have any problems with mold starting. Here’s the same set without the tamper and slightly cheaper.