Pickled Three-cornered Leeks with Turmeric and Thyme
Spring brings an abundance of vital greens up out of the earth. The combination of moist earth and increased solar energy allows plants to do their miraculous act of pulling carbon from the air, energy from the sun, and nutrient and mineral from the soil to rapidly grow into their unique form. Wild onions (or, more accurately, three cornered leeks or Allium triquetrum) begin to appear late winter here in Northern California, and begin to die back in May. Like their other wild and cultivated allium cousins, (garlic, onions, leeks, ramps), Allium triquetrum is full of immune-supporting compounds like the flavonol quercetin, and immune and cardiovascular-system supporting sulphur compounds.
This plant tends to become invasive; we can support our health and our local ecosystem by harvesting and eating lots of this plant (all parts are edible). Pickling the bulbs allows us to continue to enjoy the benefits long after they are out of season.
In this recipe I combine three potent immune-supporting, anti-inflammatory-containing plants: three cornered leeks (quercetin), turmeric root (curcumin) and thyme (thymol) for a potent and delicious pickle! I chose to can the pickles I made so they could be stored for several months. Enjoy!
Wild three-cornered leeks: 1 pound
Thyme: a handful
Turmeric root: one two inch root, finely sliced
White wine or distilled vinegar: 2 cups
Water: 1 cup
Honey: 2 tablespoons
Kosher or sea salt: 1 tablespoon
1. Dig up the wild allium (here, three-cornered leeks) with appreciation, noticing how extensive the patch is and leaving some behind for future harvests.
2. Clean the bulbs, saving the tops for cooking or making soup stock.
3. If canning your pickles, prepare your canning set-up (wash and sterilize your jars and rims, set up canning pot with rack in the bottom and begin heating the water.)
4. Combine water, vinegar, salt, and sliced turmeric root in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the honey and stir to combine.
5. Add the bulbs to the saucepan when it is simmering, and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Place a generous amount of thyme into the sterilized quart jar, and then ladle the mixture into the jar, leaving a "headspace" of about 1/2" at the top.
7. Seal the jar and submerge it in the canning pot, boiling it for 10 minutes.
8. Let it pickle for at least a week before eating.
Spring is a wonderful time to be pickling this medicinal goodness for the fall and winter. Canning allows these pickles to last up to a year.
Resilience Gardening Plant Allies:
Thyme is a fantastic, relatively low-maintenance culinary and medicinal herb. It is a perennial, is fairly drought tolerant, isn't fussy about soil conditions, and, while happy in sunny spots, can thrive in dappled shade as well. (The images on this page are of Thymus vulgaris in both shade and dappled light, respectively).
In addition to a lovely flavor, thyme lends it's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, cough suppressing and anti-inflammatory terpene thymol to food and herbal medicine preparations.