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Stork's Bill is a low lying plant that produces long slender flowering stalks. The flowers form in small umbel clusters and have five petite petals that are range from pale bubble gum pink to a blushed violet in color. The plant, from leaves, blossoms, stems and roots, is entirely edible. The blossoms and leaves have a flavor distinctly reminiscent of parsley, while the root is earthy and grassy sweet.
Stork's Bill can be found in bloom during the spring.
Stork's-Bill, botanical name Erodium cicutarium, is a member of the geranium family. It is commonly referred to as filaree and pinweed. Though considered edible, it is not only quite esoteric among desired forageables, it is also considered a noxious weed. The greatest consumers of Stork's-Bill are livestock such as sheep, catte and goats as well as harvester ants. Stork's-Bill should not be confused with Poison Hemlock, though it commonly is. The greatest differentiating factor is that Stork's-Bill has hairy stems and Poison Hemlock does not.
Although Stork's-Bill may seem daunting regarding how to use for culinary purposes, consider it much like an herb or a wild green. Taste the plant and many applications will soon come to mind. The young leaves and stems can be used raw or cooked as a potherb prior to the plant flowering. The young roots can also be used raw or for sauteeing. Each of the plant's elements can be added to salads, sandwiches and soups. They can also be substituted in any recipes that call for the leaves of beet, plantain, carrot, water spinach or amaranth. Complimentary ingredients include almonds, bacon, butter, celery, cheeses, especially cheddar, parmigiano and pecorino, cinnamon, cream, ginger, parsley, potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, herbs such as basil, mint and oregano, tomatoes and vinegar, especially red and white wine.
Stork's-Bill is native to the Mediterranean basin. Via trade routes, it has transplanted across the globe and naturalized in various habitats throughout all continents except Antarctica. It thrives primarily in loamy desert regions and grasslands, both inland and coastal, a direct indicator of its native origins. Historically, it has been used more so as a poultice medicinally versus a culinary ingredient.