Wandering on the Last Day of March: Impermanence & Wild Ramps

Yesterday, a hike through one of my favorite places to be in nature revealed several gifts.

First, was a reminder of impermanence. Everything is always changing and it is best not to become attached to any objects, people, or situations.  Strive to find happiness in each moment.

Everything will return to the Earth in time.

Second was a gift of free nourishment!  We found wild ramps (Allium tricoccum), a perennial wild onion.

Patch of ramps

When you get closer, you can tell they’re ramps by the slight reddish-purple color where they meet the ground. And when you pull them, you’ll know they’re ramps by their characteristically onion smell.

Reddish-purple: yup, ramps!

I harvested several.  It’s important that we’re not greedy when wild harvesting things so that we (and other creatures who depend on them) will have these foods in the future. Always leave many more plants than were harvested (some suggest harvesting every 4th ramp).  Another idea is to just pull the ramp up from where it meets the ground — you’ll still get some of the onion, but the bulb will be left to grow again.  Or even consider being regenerative with the onions and if you take some bulbs, use a few to start a new patch elsewhere.

Ramps for me; ramps for free

Ramps have sulfur compounds that are detoxifying for your body — try some today!

Also, did anyone else participate in this year’s Earth Hour?

It’s a fun way to show support for the Earth, be reminded of how much we depend on electricity, and to unplug for awhile! The camera-flash makes it look bright, but we had fun with candles as our only light for over an hour.  I’d like to do this more often!

Candlelight night!

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Steps Back to Nature: Harvesting Wild Chives

Beautiful chives!

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.

Patch of Wild Chives

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.

Harvesting more chives

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.

Chives to chop

Filling the jar with chopped chives

After this, I poured olive oil over the top of the chives to completely cover all the green parts.

Covering the chives with oil

This oil should be refrigerated promptly and used within a day or two.  The herbs can be strained for ease of use.

Chive-Infused Olive Oil

For more information on chives and to even discover some medicinal uses, see this web page: Wild Chives.

Happy chive hunting!