Nothing could be finer than foraging for food in your backyard on a glorious North Carolina spring morning. Today’s harvest was wild onions, and there were onions ‘o plenty.
Wild onions are part of the allium genus of plants which includes all types of onions, garlics, chives, and leeks. (Allium is the Latin word for garlic, by the way.) This morning’s mantra was “all alliums are edible,” which happens to be true.
I dug a whole bunch out of the ground, washed them and put them on the chopping block. They looked a lot like scallions to me and definitely had a similar taste. I chopped them up and threw them in the crockpot to give my beef stew some more flavor.
Franklin decided to get a little taste for himself.
I’d be curious to know if anyone out there knows where to find “ramps” which are a variety of wild onion that have become increasingly popular on the restaurant scene. Their stems are flatter and wider then the more conventional kind you see around here, and have a distinct garlic taste. They are also native to the Appalachians. Next time I go up to Boone I think I’ll try to find some.
By the way, Chicago got its name from Checagou, which is the Potawatomi name for wild leeks. Apparently the surrounding marshlands were saturated with rotting, wild leeks. True story.