Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ramson buds/Pickled dandelion buds

Ramson buds
As Spring foragables go, one would be hard pushed to beat the fresh, garlicky crunch of a freshly picked Ramson bud. They're wonderful mixed raw into simple mixed leaf salads, or quickly flashed in a pan with a slosh of soy, squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Pickled dandelion buds
These pickled buds can be used instead of capers in many recipes; brining the buds before pickling gives them a moorish, mildly salty flavour. In a few weeks time, the same pickling process can be applied to Elderflower buds.

3/4 Mug boiling water
2tsp Maldon sea salt
A handful of tightly closed dandelion buds
3/4 Mug cider vinegar
1tsp Mustard seeds
A few chunky strips of lemon zest
1 Bay leaf

1 First brine your dandelion buds. Fill a mug two-thirds full with boiling water, then add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Bring the water level to just below the brim by adding buds, then leave in a cool spot for 2-3 days (stirring intermittently).
2 Strain the dandelion buds. Bring the vinegar to the boil, kill the heat and add the mustard seeds. Spoon the buds into the bottom of a small, sterilized jar and top up with the hot vinegar. Wedge in the lemon zest and bay leaf -leave in a cool dark place for at least two weeks before eating.