|Family in the 1960's|
The main rules for onion hunting are if it smells and looks like an onion, it is an onion, and do not harvest along a roadside, industrial area, or yards that have been sprayed with pesticides. There is a resemblance to a mildly toxic plant called Crow's Poison (Northoscordum bivalve) but it does not have an onion smell when crushed. You would have to eat a pound of Crow's Poison to get a stomach ache. Another look-alike is Death Camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum) and is poisonous but does not smell like onion. It is usually found out West not in the South. Also, all onions are toxic to dogs and cats so do not feed it to them. Onion hunters tend to find a favorite patch, often not revealing the location, and return to it to gather their onions year after year.
There are two common types of onions that you will most likely find, wild garlic (Allium vineale) and wild onion (Allium canadense). Often you will not be able to tell them apart. They both have long narrow leaves arising from basal bulbs. However, wild garlic has hollow and round leaves while wild onion's leaves are flat and solid. The more common of the two is wild garlic. All wild onions and wild garlic are edible. They will never grow bulbs the size of store-bought onions as it is not in their genetics. Their bulbs will be more like pearl onions. The leaves are skinnier than the green onions that are sold in the store, and have a stronger oniony taste. They actually look more like chives. Cooking the onions mellows the flavor out. You can replace wild onions in any recipes that call for green onions or chives.
It is common in some parts of the south and west for churches to have wild onion lunches for fund raising in the springtime. They are typically served sauteed with scrambled eggs. As far as nutrition goes, wild garlic and onions contain vitamin C, A and potassium. Native Americans ate wild onions as a cure for colds. They also rubbed the plant on their bodies to protect them from insects. In modern times, onions have been reported to lower blood pressure, help to facilitate detoxification, act as powerful antioxidants, stimulate immune responses and reduce inflammation.
Wild onions/garlic can also be dehydrated and used for later purposes. However, if doing it indoors, it will make your house smell like onions for days.
Here are some recipes to try:
Eggs and Bacon with Wild Onion
6 slices of bacon, diced
1 cup wild onion, chopped
10 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a hot pan, fry the bacon until nearly crisp. Add onions and fry until bacon is crisp. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring until set, about 4 minutes. Cook until desired egg texture is achieved. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese before serving.
Serve with hot sauce.
Wild Onion and Oyster Chowder
4 cups cubed frozen hashbrowns or 4 cups cubed potatoes
2 ribs celery, diced fine
1/2 cup wild onions, chopped
1 garlic clove finely minced or pressed
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granule
fresh coarse ground black pepper, to taste
2 (3 3/4 ounce) cans petite smoked oysters, drained
6 slices of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
Microwave or boil potatoes until tender. Drain.
In a large pot, saute wild onions, celery and garlic with butter. Add potatoes and flour, blend well.
Add half and half, milk, bouillon, pepper, and oysters. Cook until heated through, gently stirring occasionally.
Serve topped with bacon and oyster crackers.
Variation option: Add 1 can drained corn
Notes: While the content of this blog has been tried/tested and the research diligently presented, I am not responsible for your use of it. Always try a little of the food first to test for allergies. Please do your own research. Discuss with your doctor before you use any herbal medications.