Sometimes called Field Garlic, Crow Garlic, or Onion Grass. Allium Vineale, if you want to be sure. I have no idea how they found their way into my vegetable garden, but they are here to stay from now on.
When I first discovered them, I hated the sight of them mingling with the vegetables. I started digging them out. To dispose of them in the trash. Even after finding out they were edible.
However, after declaring defeat in the battle to get rid of them, I decided to try cooking with them. I added a small amount in a stir fry at first. I can’t say I was impressed. The bulbs were tiny and the leaves skinny, so they ended up just getting lost in a mix of other veggies. And I thought I detected an aftertaste when I singled them out. Kind of bitter. That ended the experiment, and the familiar battle commenced once more.
Until I came across this blog. It inspired me to try a new way to enjoy the weeds. Turning them into pickles. They were so small that cleaning them was a pain, but I managed to get a small jar’s worth of the tiny bulbs. The pickle juice was a simple mix of water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and a few peppercorns. After letting it sit for a week to cure, I sampled the result. It was good! Not bitter. Crunchy, sour, sweet, salty, just like any pickled vegetable. But then again I’ve always liked pickles.
The real test would be with the picky eaters in the house, so I added them to the Chicken Piccata and waited for reaction. Everybody happily ate the chicken without any complaint. They probably thought they were seeing capers.
Yes, in the pickle juice, they turned blue overnight, then slowly green, and stayed green thereafter. Alarmed at first, the Novice Gardener consulted the internet and did more research, before deciding they were safe to eat. Needless to say, the Novice Gardener is still here to report the tasty result. So, what’s not to like? It’s free and it’s delicious! So, if you see wild garlic in your garden, stop cursing (I did) and start eating (did, too).
While the Novice Gardener highly recommends foraging, please make sure that you can positively identify any wild plant that you gather as safe prior to consumption. Some plants may give you allergic reactions, or in some cases, especially with mushrooms, nuts, or berries, may be dangerous and possibly deadly.