This summer and fall, we’re going to have plenty of members of the Allium family available for harvest: Australian Brown onions, purple bunching onions, Egyptian walking onions (!), Inchelium Red garlic, and even some supermarket green onions, planted in the garden after being found limp in the crisper drawer last summer. They brightened up and grew us onion greens all season long and now have overwintered and look like they’re about ready to start up again. But nothing is quite to the point where it can be harvested without harming its future growth. So, once again, we’ve turned to the wild to fill the gap in fresh foods in the winter months. Last night, we seasoned our baked potatoes with the chopped greens of wild garlic.
There are many wild alliums, but the one we put on our potatoes is the one you see all over the place in yards and forest edges at this time of year (and that kids love to nibble on!). I’m guessing at its scientific classification, but I’m pretty sure it’s Allium vineale, since my field guide says Allium vineale is an invasive weed, and this stuff is clearly everywhere. Allium vineale is the bane of dairy and wheat farmers, since its growth in pastures and fields can impart a garlic flavor to milk, butter, and even flour. But why not turn what could be a nuisance into a blessing? The garlic flavor was a welcome addition to our potatoes last night!