More on Cold Weather Wild Edibles

Field garlic

Field garlic

I still haven’t finished cleaning the Casita.  I keep finding more interesting projects to play with!

Today I thought it would be fun to show you how to use field garlic.  Wild garlic is better than field garlic, but field garlic is what grows here.

Field garlic looks a lot like a clump of grass, except that its leaves are round.  Once you know what to look for, you can spot it easily at a distance.  And if you have a country yard, like we do, you might have it growing in your lawn.  If you’ve ever mowed the lawn and smelled garlic afterwards, that’s field garlic.

Field garlic bulbs

Field garlic bulbs

It’s a cool weather plant.  It goes dormant in the heat of summer.  But if you know where it grows, you can dig for it in summer and easily spot the bulbs.  There’s no mistaking them for anything else.  If it smells like garlic, it is garlic!

The bulbs are small and are not separated into cloves like the garlic you buy at the store. They look more like small green onions.  Field garlic is pungent so use it sparingly.

Field garlic washed and ready to prepare

Field garlic washed and ready to prepare

The green tops of field garlic are essentially inedible.  If you try to cook with them, they will turn your cooking liquid a dark, ugly green.  And they are so tough that you can’t chew them.  If you try, you will end of with a wad of cellulose in your mouth.

However, if you slice the tops very thinly, you can use them very sparingly to add flavor and color to a recipe like a rice dish.  The key is very sparingly!

Field garlic ready to cook with

Field garlic ready to cook with

I usually slice the bulbs thinly, saute them slowly in olive oil, and build my recipe from there.

I also found sheep sorrel today.  Its arrowhead shaped leaves have a pleasant, tart vinegar flavor.  It’s especially good in rice dishes and will perk up other bland foods.  It also is a good in soups and dips.

Sheep sorrel.  Think small when you search for this plant.  If you look for a big plant you will miss it.  Note the arrowhead shaped leaves.

Sheep sorrel. Think small when you search for this plant. If you look for a big plant you will miss it. Note the arrowhead shaped leaves.

I don’t give recipes because I am one of those cooks who makes everything up as I go along with a handful of this, a sprinkling of this, and a pinch of that, based on what I have to work with and my mood.  It’s tremendous fun and usually turns out interesting and good.  But once in a while I do end up with a colossal disaster.  I don’t have the patience to go back and analyze and measure what I do, though.

I also wanted to tell you about wood sorrel today, but it appears last night’s cold has done it in.  So I’m posting a picture of chickweed that I took the other day that shows wood sorrel leaves in the center.

Wood sorrel has three leaflets and looks a little bit like clover.  It has a tart lemony taste that is good anywhere a touch of lemony brightness would be good.  I like it best in salads or chopped small and served as a garnish over a rich soup.  It’s also good with fish dishes.

Lemony-tasting wood sorrel leaves growing in chickweed.  Click to enlarge the photo.

Lemony-tasting wood sorrel leaves growing in chickweed. Click to enlarge the photo.

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18 Comments

  1. Emily

     /  December 30, 2012

    Guess will utilize the garlic that grows in my back yard next year. Thanks for the info. Love garlic.

    • It’s almost like playing — no it IS playing — to use wild ingredients in your cooking. Have fun! 🙂

  2. Come to Michigan with Ron & the kids and camp with us sometime….I’d love the foraging education. It’s a bit of a trek from where you live, but Michigan is wonderful and there’s plenty of wonderful campsites.

    • Judy, I’d love to get to Michigan some day. My ex mother-in-law lived in Minnesota and we visited her, and friends in Wisconsin — way back in the 70’s. I’ve browsed through pictures of Michigan campgrounds, and the only thing holding us back is gas money. Plus camping is so much cheaper down here!

      BTW, I really am not an expert. I just know where things grow down here! 🙂

  3. It must be nice to go out and find these things right in your yard. The only thing here is sandy dirt and stickers. I guess that really isn’t true lots of cacti are used for food or meds. But I am not fond of the stickers.

    • No, I’m not fond of the stickers, either. My first experience eating a cactus pad left me feeling like thousands of stinging glass needles were on my tongue! I’m a lot more careful now!

  4. Sunny

     /  December 30, 2012

    Well, you got your priorities right anyway…… fun things first! House-cleaning will always be there 🙂 Thanks for the info.

  5. Tomorrow the priority IS cleaning the Casita! Glad you enjoyed the weed stuff. 😀

  6. lynne

     /  December 30, 2012

    Great post…I love plants!

    Sheep sorrel is a new one for me.

    Short response as this is the third time I’ve tried to comment…..my issues with technology.

    • Glad to see that your fingers aren’t too frozen to type. 🙂

      Wishing you warm sunshine and clear blue skies like Florida should be!

  7. Julie

     /  December 31, 2012

    I just found your blog over the weekend and this is great. We live in North Carolina and have this garlic all over our yard. It is difficult to just pull up (probably because of the bulbs) so I will dig some up and give it a try. Thanks.

  8. I have a bag of chopped garlic greens in my freezer…now if I can just remember it’s in there 🙂 Happy New Year…we are at hospital with Jerry dad celebrating his 91st bday. Mini strokes…kind of grumpy but he’s allowed. Hoping he can get his strength to live some more at home with mom. Snowing here, roast in crockpot, and back to work Wednesday…ugh! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous Green going on’s 🙂 ps Hubble just scratched off $100…Wahoo!

    • Best wishes to Jerry’s dad. At 91, he deserves to be a little grumpy sometimes! Hope he makes a full recovery.

      Roast in the crockpot….. bet your house smells wonderful!

      Yay for hubby and the scratch off. My hubby also gets a good proportion of winners… I quit buying them because I never get a winner… just paid into the pot for others! 😀

  9. MarciaGB

     /  December 31, 2012

    What great wild finds you make! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I learn something every time I look at your blog. Happy New Year,

    • I was afraid that people would be bored by the weed feed. 😀

      So glad you are enjoying it. Happy new year to you, too!

  10. Sharon…your the best responder…I hope all your dreams come trrue and I meet you in 2013 face to face! xoxox

    • Wow! You are going to give me a big head! 🙂

      What wonderful wishes. And how much fun it would be to meet in person! It just might work – if you can stand one hyperactive aussie-lab. 😀

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