Surprising harvest yields delicious results
By Madelyn Altman
In the midst of the CY Clean-Up last month, it became apparent to me that there are some people who don’t view wild green onions as weeds. In fact, we are actually harvesting onions in Cooper-Young. This finding led me to do a little research, and I wanted to share what I found. Enjoy!
These perennials come up twice a year, spring and fall, for many years. To have your cake and eat it too, harvest all your onions at once by cutting the whole clump off about 2–3 inches above ground. The plant will sprout more leaves almost immediately. Continue in this manner all season, chopping and freezing the leaves for future use. They only sprout for about 6 weeks, so do this throughout the growing season. If you are lucky, you’ll have harvested enough to last throughout the year. (You can do the same with domestic chives, shallots, leeks, etc. Just buy some at the grocery store, cut the roots off about 2–4 inches from the bottom, and plant so the tops are at soil level in your garden. They will sprout new leaves and multiply for years to come.)
These onions keep in the refrigerator for several days and for several months in the freezer. I chop mine up in tiny bits and freeze them in a Ziplock bag for handy use.
Sprinkle like chives on baked potatoes, add to soups, stews, sandwiches, and salads. Anywhere you’d use onions. The little bulbs are edible if peeled and can be chopped up with the leaves, eaten raw, pickled, roasted, sauteed, etc. The roots are tough, but are great additions to the stock pot if well washed.
A little wild onion goes a long way. They are stronger than domestic varieties. If you cut them off above ground level, they will keep growing for a longer harvesting season. While none of my reference books say it, I always get a second harvest in the fall.
Onions are said to be high in Vitamin C, phosphorus, and iron, and, of course, chlorophyl.
Onion and garlic are both well-known anti-microbial, anti-catarrhals, and immune system boosters. Eating too much can cause diarrhea. If you eat wild onions, as well as other wild greens, mosquitoes and gnats will leave you alone.
Recipes to enjoy
Wild Onion Chowder
Make a wild onion chowder by sauteing a bit of finely chopped bacon until crisp. Add a good handful of wild green onions and about a cup of chopped potatoes and stir. Add a tablespoon or so of flour and a teaspoon of salt, and stir well. Add a few cups of milk and stir, scraping the bottom. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender. Any white fish or shrimp can be added as well as a handful of sweet corn kernels. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with a grating of cheese on top and a chunk of sourdough bread.
Wild Onion Pesto
Use wild onions in place of basil, with fresh garlic, salt, and olive oil.
Tonight, I’m going to oven roast the green onions I brought home. I’ll probably cut them into thirds, drizzle with olive oil, add kosher salt and black pepper, and roast for about 10 minutes or so at 450 degrees. Maybe sprinkle over a little grated parmesan the last few minutes? I can’t wait!
The information in this article was provided by Wild Food Foragers of America and eHow.