Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wild Leeks

Foraging for Wild Food- All in one day
Here it was the first really really beautiful day of spring for us here in Bruce County and TheBigGuy and I were out along the trails. We happened to be in the right place at the right time, because there were so many things blooming. 
I was especially tickled to see the wild ginger (Asarum canadense) in bloom because that single burgundy bugle is hard to see growing as it does from the base of the 2 heart-shaped leaves. And it lasts for a very short time. We gather the rizomes of the wild ginger that creep along the top of the forest floor. It can be used in teas and dried for winter blends.

Too early for the leeks to bloom, and once they do, it is so hard to find them because the leaves have died back, but right now is the perfect time to dig. Of course we made sure we only took one shovel full from the largest patch, leaving 90% of the patch to keep growing for future years. I plan to use them in a bread stuffing for a fresh roasted chicken tonight.
Of course, always growing right near the leeks, and always in deciduous forest, is Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), the medicinal and helpful plant especially for women's ailments. We caught it at that perfect time when the yellow bloom is at its peak and you can see the small blue berries that grow larger as the season progresses.

Bloodroot, that plant that stays wrapped up in its own leaves until the afternoon sun warms it and it unfolds into the delicate white flower we saw today. Native peoples used the blood red root as a skin and fabric dye.

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