Friday, May 22, 2009

Gathering from Nature

This is the best time of year to begin gathering nature's bounty. We have been busy digging wild leeks, also known as wild onions or ramps. They seem to grow best in open hardwoods and have reached their peak when the trilliums are in bloom and just before they send up their own blossom spike. We have had enough rain this spring that they are a nice size this year (sometimes they are about half as big) but you can see from the picture below that in the onion world they are not huge.

Flavor wise they seem to me a cross between an onion and garlic. They can be eaten raw or cooked, I've even sauteed the whole thing(bulb with leaves attached) but that can have the same effect as beans on some systems!
My favorite way to use them is remove the outer layer of dirt and root, then slice and dehydrate. They make the cutest little "onion O's" and store well in a plastic bag for a year or two (if they last that long) I use them in soups, stews, sloppy joes, omelets, as whole rings or crushed in my fingers. My daughter already has her request in for her share.
Enjoy the woods, but please remember to harvest responsibly. Leeks have roots but are also attached to (I think) a rhizome which connects groups of them and helps them spread. To not disrupt their system, I use a garden fork to loosen the clump, then hand pull several of the bulbs, leaving a few to nourish the mother root, firming the loosened dirt back in place with my foot. As I write this, I'm thinking I really make work out of the process, but I've been picking this way for years and not disturbing the other wild flowers around them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring is Finally Here

We had a nice week's vacation, driving to up-state New York last month. I've been lazy about writing here- too much e-mail and house duties to catch up on. We had a booth at the National Trout Festival in Kalkaska back in April, it seems hard to believe May is almost half over, am I in a time warp?

Happy Mother's Day everyone! (Even if you aren't one, chances are if you are reading this you did have one!)

This week I'm trying to get more yarn labelled to pack for the craft show. This Friday and Saturday we will be at Yoder's Quilt Auction near Clare. If you are in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself. I'll be the one in the bright polka-dotted hat with a spinning wheel:) I plan to take lots of pictures and actually post some. Need to spend some time listing on my Esty and Artfire shops too, but when the weather warms the woods and garden call louder.