We sometimes have to sequester the birds, like the ducks, from the ornamental gardens, because they wreck havoc. They disrupt the order, borders, and bones of the gardens. One example is the eating of my hosta sprouts. It delays my garden borders and leaves them ragged unless I make them stop. Turns out that they are not only a favorite spring treat of ducks, but are edible for humans.

Hosta shoots in the garden border. Rick Riley | Mezzacello
Hosta shoots can be eaten. Rick Riley | Mezzacello

I’ve learned that in Japan they forage for Hoyas like we forage here for morels. I’ve divided them among friends so much I have less need to spread them…so I harvest them. Now the ducks have ME to compete with. You cut them when they are just before they unfurl. They taste like a light onion, or asparagus with a hint of ramp. They have a butter leaf crispness. My absolute favorite way to prepare them is to sauté them in ramp butter. The leftovers hold their body well. I like to fold them into quiches, which is a favorite way to use leftovers. You might find like us, they are a favorite start to spring.

Hostas, parsnips, and carrots. Rick Riley | Mezzacello
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