Spring Foraging Favorite: Ramp Pesto!

The season for one of my favorite wild edibles will soon be coming to an end.  Ramps, or wild leeks, are a favorite spring green that has a very unique onion-garlic-like flavor I’ve come to crave in the spring.

Although I would like to say that I’ve harvested several times already this year, I missed out on much of ramp season, but just HAD to get out there to make some ramp pesto.

I spotted a huge patch awhile back and finally returned there to harvest some ramps.

In the spirit of the latest consensus about sustainable harvesting, I only took the ramp leaves which are very flavorful indeed. I left the bulbs alone so that they can develop into new plants next year. Overharvesting can very quickly decimate a ramp patch (even one as big as this!), and when you can get away with using just the leaves, why not do that and ensure that this species continues to grace the plates of future generations? Continue reading

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Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature

Today you can find a guest post about my three favorite ways to feel more connected with nature on Dawn Gettig’s blog.  She’s an amazing and inspirational yogini, artist, and feng shui practitioner who will be sharing some of her favorite feng shui tips with us here in a few days.

Please hop on over to my article on her blog: Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature.

We also love to connect with nature by visiting some of our favorite natural places.  Holden Arboretum had its annual Arbor Day Festivities over the weekend and we had a wonderful time searching for wildflowers (I found some gorgeous bloodroot and twin leaf!) and playing in Buckeye Bud’s adventure area for kids.  Continue reading

The most wonderful time of year….(spring!)

Each season has its highlights, but I don’t think there’s anything quite so wonderful as Spring.
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Everything has me speaking in exclamation points.

Did you HEAR the spring peepers?!?!” I bound through the house asking Mr. Light Footsteps while doing a few twirls.

“You wouldn’t BELIEVE the plants we saw on our walk today!” I exclaim as I fail to contain my enthusiasm and speak through jumps.

I doubt everyone gets quite so excited about such spring-things, but these are the finer points in life that I believe in celebrating.  Continue reading

Toadstool Foray

It feels so wonderful to be in the woods this time of year. The cycle of nature is so obvious, so vibrant, so crunchy beneath the feet and so colorful overhead.  A perfect time for hunting mushrooms! Continue reading

Spring Foraging

Outside of this strange world that we call the internet, I don’t know many people who would say that an ideal day is one spent in the woods learning about wild edible foods. But for me, a day spent meandering through the woods is in itself the indication of a day well spent, and to combine that with learning about and connecting with plants comes close to absolute perfection. Maybe other people just haven’t yet tried…

Behold the knowledge

Disclaimer: I have not tried eating all of the plants shown below and I am not suggesting that you do so without adequate preparation! My method generally goes something like this:

1) Find a plant and ID it in my field guide or learn about a plant and aim to find it and identify it.

2) Identify it on at least a few other ocassions.

3) Read about the plant and possible dangerous look-alikes.

4) Try a small amount to make sure it agrees with my body.

5) Eat more.

Let’s begin…

The dried corms (Wikipedia: a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ) of jack-in-the pulpits can be sliced and eaten like potato chips!

Jack in the pulpit

Japanese knotwood can be eaten like asparagus…and I encourage this one due to its invasive nature!

Japanese knotwood

Coltsfoot can be candied and I’m still looking to find a patch big enough so that I can infuse the flowers into honey as a cough remedy!

Coltsfoot

Chopped toothwort root can be substituted for horseradish.

Toothwort

I also hit a ramp jackpot! They were everywhere!

Ramp overload!

Dinner!

Wandering around this way also leads to other beautiful finds like Squirrel corn (I don’t have any idea about its edibility, don’t try!)…

Squirrel corn. Hehe - such a funny name.

And you also might come across extremely cozy patches of moss at the edge of a ravine.  This is my version of ultimate renewal and peace. I once read that some Native Americans believe that excess energy accumulates in places like this (i.e., cliffs, edges). I think they are right – it feels so wonderful! Why don’t I do this every day?

I’m happy to provide more information to anyone who’s interested!

Go be in nature! Give in to your animal instincts and go foraging!

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