This time of year most people are anxious to get out and mow their yard for the first time, ready to eliminate all the long green tufts that grow haphazardly through the grass. If you’re anything like my daughter and I, you’ll know that those ugly green tufts are something worth foraging for.
Wild garlic and wild onion (commonly referred to as yard onions or wild onion grass) are somewhat of a nuisance when it comes to popping up in random places. They are one of the first green things to show up in early spring, and in some states they are stubbornly growing throughout the dead of winter.
Wild onions and wild garlic look extremely similar, and are differentiated mainly by their stems. Wild garlic has a round hollow stem, while wild onions have a flat solid stem. Both are edible and can be identified easily by their pungent garlic or onion smell when picked. An easy rule of thumb: if it doesn’t smell like onion or garlic, don’t eat it. Daffodil shoots look very similar, and are poisonous, however they lack the smell of wild onions or garlic.
This time of year is popular for foragers to go looking for ramps (wild leeks), however wild onions and garlic have a similar flavor and can be used the same way in recipes. The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with wild onions and garlic. Both the bulbs and the scape is edible. You can simply use the scape cut into small pieces as a garnish in salads or to top a dish. You can add them to soups, stews, eggs, or bread doughs, and anything that calls for chives in the recipe. To eat the bulb, you can simply use it how you would use any onion or garlic in a recipe.
Wild onion and garlic are very easy to preserve as well. You can freeze it in freezer proof containers or vacuum seal it and freeze it. Many people dehydrate it and use it as you would dried chives or dried onions in recipes.
Wild Onion Dip
- 12 wild onion scapes (no bulb) about 8-10 inches long
- ½ tsp dried dill
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 16 oz Sour cream OR Greek Yogurt
- 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Using kitchen shears, cut the scapes into ¼” long pieces, trying to keep them all uniform in size. Place the onions in a small bowl and cover with enough salt to coat all of the onions. Mix until they are coated well, then let them sit for an hour. This will help bring the moisture from the scapes.
Shake off the excess salt and place the onion scapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them in your oven or dehydrator at 170 degrees for 20 minutes. Check on them after 20 minutes to make sure they are crispy. They should snap in two when you try to bend them in half! If they aren’t done, put them back in the oven for 5 minute increments until they are crispy.
Once done, let them cool.
In a mixing bowl, add your sour cream, pepper to taste, dill, garlic powder, parsley and your onions. Mix well and cover. Refrigerate at least an hour. Serve with chips or fresh cut veggies.