Foraging Field Garlic is a great way to add some unique flavors to your favorite dishes. Field garlic, scientifically known as Allium vineale, is a species of wild onion that grows in abundance throughout North America. The plant grows to around 2-3 feet high with bright green stems, and has white or pinkish flowers that bloom in the late summer months. Despite its name, field garlic tastes and smells more like wild onion than garlic, and is a great addition to salads, soups and many other dishes.
Knowing how to identify and forage for field garlic is an important skill for any aspiring forager. In fields or meadows, look for tall, round clusters of bright green stems with flat, blade-like leaves that curl in the center. The bulbs are small and round and have a white or off-white color. It’s important not to confuse field garlic with other species of wild onions, such as Allium cepa (the onion you buy in the grocery store) or Allium canadense (leek). Be sure to take a sniff when you’re out foraging – if the plant has an oniony aroma, you’ve got yourself some field garlic!
Once you’ve identified field garlic, it’s time to harvest it! Carefully dig around the plant’s base with a trowel and loosen the soil before taking it out of the ground by firmly grasping the stem with one hand and gently pulling up with the other. It’s best to only harvest what you need as digging up the entire plant can damage the surrounding area.
Once you’ve gathered your field garlic, the sky’s the limit when it comes to cooking! Here are some great recipes to try with your fresh-picked garlic:
• Wild Garlic Pesto – blend fresh garlic leaves with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a delicious condiment
• Pickled Wild Garlic – add field garlic bulbs to a jar with vinegar and seasonings for an easy pickle
• Wild Garlic Soup – simmer field garlic bulbs, potatoes, carrots and vegetable stock for a quick and easy veggie soup
• Wild Garlic Fritters – mix minced garlic with eggs and flour for some delicious fritters that make a great side dish
With a little practice and creativity, field garlic can become an exciting addition to your favorite recipes. So grab your trowel and get out there – happy foraging!