The Best Culinary Use For Leftover Pickled Ramp Brine

If you're a farm-to-table foodie, you may unabashedly agree that ramp vegetable season is the best time of the year. An Appalachian staple-turned-Michelin-starred-ingredient, Vox explains that our obsession with these scallion-looking, garlicky-tasting greens can be chalked up to their rarity, limited availability, and status symbol. Foraged rather than farmed, the freshly picked allium is often grilled or sautéed, and pickling isn't out of the question. 

To extend the enjoyment of their super short season, packing the bulbs in a pickling solution is a great way to preserve spring flavors. But what happens when you've eaten all your pickled ramps and are left with the brine? Rather than toss the sour and salty juice, put the leftover liquid to use.

When it comes to pickling, there are two ways to go about the process. According to Exploratorium, you can either use a solution of vinegar for a quick pickle or a solution of water and salt for a fermented pickle. Feel free to add garlic and other spices to your liking (via Melissa K Norris). Regardless of which method you choose (or what you pickle), the practice is a great way to amp up flavor complexity and reduce food waste of otherwise perishable produce. Even more sustainable is repurposing the briny juice once you've eaten all your pickled goodies.

Add it to vinaigrettes and cocktails for a punch of flavor

While you may not have thought much about it before, pickled ramp brine can be incorporated into any recipe that needs some oomph. That said, a lot of flavor can be packed into the liquid. Important in balancing other flavors, The Art of Eating explains that salt enhances umami and deepens complexity, whereas acidity cuts through the richness and creates an even taste. Since pickled ramp brine boasts a high concentration of both salt and acidity, it's a stellar cooking companion.

You can easily start experimenting with leftover brine. Cultures for Health shares that the simplest way to repurpose the liquid is to reuse it for other pickles or substitute it in place for vinegar. Think — ceviche or a homemade vinaigrette dressing, per Food & Wine. A splash of ramp brine can also liven up a deviled egg recipe, your favorite tomato juice, or the base of a cold soup, according to Cultures for Health.

The world of mixology can also be quite inspiring when it comes to using leftover pickled ramp brine. A great way to highlight the acidic ramp brine is to make a variation of the Dirty Martini. Simply stir gin and dry vermouth with a bit of brine before straining into a glass and garnishing with a pickled ramp to create a Ramp Gibson!