Summer Snapshot 2024

Spring foraging and gardening season is quickly moving into the summer busy season! What did you plant in your gardens this year? I have beans, peas, squash, tomatoes and sunflowers planted so far… lots left to go!

We had an abundance of wild ramps or leeks (Allium tricoccum) for fresh eating this spring. and I managed to get a couple of jars pickled for later this season!
In the same family as onions and garlic ,this plant grows in thick colonies in predominantly hardwood forests that have rich moist soil. These types of woods are generally quite shady in the summer. The leeks are what we call a spring ephemeral- they are done growing and have died back before the trees have their full leaf canopy.

Because they grow in a colony you need to be careful when you are harvesting them. You never want to take out an entire patch. If you are in a place where they are growing well this is not generally an issue. As you are digging you will notice that the root systems are intertwined and separating a portion of a patch takes some careful attention so you don’t damage the ones you intend to leave in the ground.

Many people choose to just harvest the edible leaves and keep the bulbs in the ground.

They have a taste that is both onion and garlic at the same time. Stronger than an onion in flavor, you can use them as you would either of these in all your recipes. I like to freeze some leaves to add to winter soups, etc…Easy to gather and store for winter, by chopping small and dehydrating. Many people also can them. Some like to can them with other wild spring foods such as ostrich fiddleheads and wood nettles, which makes a nutritious flavorful base for any winter cooking.

As a member of the Allium family the constituents are similar as well. Eating leeks gives you many vitamins and minerals to support your nutrition; vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, omega-3 fats. Leeks contain many sulfur compounds that are either similar to, or identical with sulfur compounds in these better-researched vegetables. The sulfur found in leeks, and other members of the allium family, play an important role in support of our body’s antioxidant and detox systems as well as the formation of our connective tissue.

Dandelions gathered while weeding out the vegetable beds. A good start….!

Dandelion is packed full of nutrients. It is high in vitamins D, C ,B’s, and A, calcium, potassium, magnesium, lecithin, protein, iron, sugar, and calcium, phosphorus, manganese, sulphur, aluminum, chromium, cobalt, niacin, riboflavin, sodium, tin, zinc, and ascorbic acid. Eat the greens fresh or steamed. The roots can be eaten fresh, sautéed, dried, roasted, made into tea, and so many other ways! The bright yellow flowers ( minus the green part) are sweet and colorful additions to your salads and sprinkled on top of other dishes.

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