I found and wrote about this patch of wild onion in August, and all winter long it’s been in the back of my mind. The long stretch of lack of fresh, green flavors would be abruptly broken by the reappearance of this lovely piece of culinary geniusness. This particular one is allium senescens, its common name ‘german garlic’. I have a hard time comparing it to anything garlic as it strikes me nothing like it. It’s more like the offspring of a one-night-stand of nodding onion and wild chive. Nodding onion, to date, has been the clear winner in the kitchen for allium awesomeness. I think it has a competitor now, as A. Senescens is like nodding onion on steroids. I’m going to have to do some side-by-side comparisons.
Not all allium are safe to eat, by the way. One of the perks of going foraging often is I’d been in this area often enough to be there to see it bloom, positively ID it when it was, so that I was extremely confident come spring what I was looking at exactly. As always with wild food, it’s important to do some considerable homework prior to trying a bit of something. But that homework shouldn’t be a deterrent to learning about and tasting it, that’s for sure. Although a star now because it’s so early, this guy will be in season throughout the summer, so I can visit it regularly as the other greens, mushrooms, and fruits come into season.
Great video Kevin. The next time I take the dog for a walk I will be keeping my eyes peeled for some of those seed pods. I would like to add some wild onions to my garden this year as well.
Great tip Kevin. I have some chives but would love to get a few seeds for the rougher part of the garden. Maybe we’ll go poke around the valley this weekend. I wonder when the wild asparagus will be up on the north banks of the valley. They were crazy tall last autumn (some at 5 or 6 feet).
I was just tweeted that it is time to go down to the river valley and forage for ramps and then I thought of you. It was a delight to watch your video. I’ve never done this before. Do you have a favourite spot that you would be willing to share with your followers?
Very nice. I am pretty sure we don’t have any wild onions here, not any that I would dare pick.
I so love your blog………. but hate the gaps between posts. I check it 3-4 times every day. Beth in Ky.
We have wild onions/garlic on our property. It is the first to poke it’s head up in the spring, tastes really good in salads, in sandwiches, on potatoes. I find that after the other forest plants start growing, it loses it fine taste.
Could be that they are more intense (flavour-wise) in the wild because so much of what gives them their flavour are defensive compounds. In a garden, they don’t have to ‘worry’ about pests or competition as much so they produce less of these compounds.. *and/or* they are typically watered less regularly/reliably in the wild so the compounds get concentrated. Plants are so cool. Almost as cool as bugs :)