Harvesting wild foods is a great way to foster a sense of connection to nature. Not only does it get you outside, but you establish a relationship with a plant and are reminded that this process of taking food from the Earth has happened as part of every meal ever consumed. Being the one to do the taking yourself makes the connection all that much stronger (although it’s a beneficial exercise to think of how all of your food was handled before it got to you). Harvesting wild foods also fosters a sense of self-reliance and a beautiful feeling that we are a part of a continuous unfolding of life that cannot come from eating something packaged.
Wild chives (Allium schoenoprasum L.) are very similar to those grown conventionally, but with the added bonus that they can be found for free in moist areas! Despite being the middle of February, I recently was happy to come across a patch of land with several clusters.
After inspecting them more closely and making sure that they had their characteristic chive smell (i.e., onion-y), I grabbed several to chop into vegetables for lunch. I also ate a few on the spot as it had been quite awhile since I had eaten food straight from the outdoors!
A few days later I wanted to try having even more fun with wild chives so I collected some in glass jars to bring home.
Once home, I started the process of infusing them into olive oil. First, I cut them up into smaller pieces so that there was more surface area of plant matter. I put all of these chopped bits into a small glass jar.
After this, I poured olive oil over the top of the chives to completely cover all the green parts. Any parts that stick up out of the oil could potentially mold.
Next I labeled the jar and put it in a cupboard to sit for about a week. I have tasted little bits for the past few days and it is coming along splendidly! It will be great to use as a dipping sauce or with pastas.
When I’m finally done letting it sit, I will put the oil into a new container and strain the chives using a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. It will be ready for use and I will enjoy this oil much more knowing that I picked the chives that gave it its delicious flavor!
For more information on chives and to even discover some medicinal uses, see this web page: Wild Chives.
Happy chive hunting!