Daffodils, chickweed, ramps, toothwort

Toothwort, Ham, & Cheese, Plus Ramps: First Foraging of the Year

March took her sweet time, but she finally brought me some goods for my foraging bucket.

I went out looking for chickweed and spring beauties, but the chickweed still isn’t big enough (I picked one clump) and the beauties are still few and far between.

Lance and I ate all the spring beauties we found, and ooohed and aahhed over the violets, which are tiny but beginning to bloom. For now they are all trail nibbles, but soon they will be in by the thousands and we’ll have plenty to carry home.

Meanwhile, toothwort!

Some sources will say to eat the root as a horseradish substitute, but not only is it more work to dig out the roots / rhizomes, but that also kills the plant, and we prefer the greens and flowers anyway.

And just look how pretty they are on the mountain!

Cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) greens and flowers are still a bit spicy, and now and then you get a bitter note, but I’m so eager to eat anything on the mountain right now that I picked a handful and brought them home with the intent of putting them in a salad.

In the end I threw them on my ham and cheese sandwich, which was just as good, and faster.

Ham and cheese sandwich with toothwort
Ham and cheese sandwich with toothwort

Who doesn’t want flowers on a sandwich??

I also think they’d be a good addition to a bagel and cream cheese.

Plus, ramps!

I knew these were nearly ready, and we went out to the Red Oak Switchback trail because those patches always seem to be ahead of the rest.

Fresh dug ramps
Fresh dug ramps

After deciding on the largest ones (so far), Lance dug a spade underneath them, and I tugged them carefully out with my hands and a small trowel. We had a good rain yesterday and the soil is wet and soft.

Sometimes I cut ramps just above the roots, but today I took the whole plant and made plans to transplant the roots later on to a different part of the mountain.

I rinsed them off (will clean again before eating) and put them in water for later. They smell marvelous. I have a jar of pickled peppers that’s almost empty; I may toss my ramp bulbs in there, and save the leafy greens for my salad.

Daffodils, chickweed, ramps, toothwort
Daffodils, chickweed, ramps, toothwort

PS: The Virginia waterleaf is coming up in the slough! Will plan to harvest some of those soon.

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2 comments on “Toothwort, Ham, & Cheese, Plus Ramps: First Foraging of the Year

  1. I love this time of year! Haven’t had time for a wander but maybe this week. Things are slow coming along here, thankfully, so I haven’t missed much.

    I never heard of eating tokthwort, but now I want to try it. Looks great on your sandwich!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Cutleaf toothwort *is* a little spicy, and now and then you get a bitter bite, but still sooooo worthwhile. Foraging season will be coming on like a freight train in the next few weeks, yay!

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