Wild Onion Flowers
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Onion blossoms are white or light pink flowers blooming among the thin leaves of wild onions and give off an oniony-garlic scent. The flowers are star-shaped and measure approximately a half inch across. They are slightly more pungent tasting than the leaves, and become even stronger flavored as the seeds develop and ripen. Wild onions have long slender green leaves, like thick blades of grass and have a definite onion smell. The tall stalks grow together in small clumps and sometimes reach up to two feet in height. Their small oval shaped bulbs look like small onions and offer a pungent onion flavor, while the green tops are milder.
Wild onion blossoms are available in the spring and summer.
Botanically known as Allium canadense, Wild onions are known as Meadow garlic or Wild garlic and are a favorite of foragers. The intense onion or garlic smell can help differentiate Wild onions from a look-a-like called ‘Crow’s Poison” which is a toxic plant that has no smell. As with all foraging, it is important to make sure a plant is identified properly prior to consumption.
Wild onion blossoms are best used raw due to their delicate structure. They are often used as a garnish or simply added into mixed salad greens. Fold them into bread or pasta dough to add a slight onion quality without being pungent. Use the blossoms along with the leaves in savory pancakes and raw herbal sauces such as pesto, salsa or chimichurri. Wild onion blossoms compliment, potato, eggs, cream, ginger, lime, parsley, thyme and mushrooms.
Allium canadense prefers cooler weather; it is native to eastern and central North America. Wild onions can be found in the US along the east coast, as far south as Florida and as far west as Colorado.